Guj police take Teesta Setalvad in custody, arrest ex-DGP Sreekumar for `fabricating evidence" day after SC upholds SIT clean chit to Modi

  • | Saturday | 25th June, 2022

Ahmedabad, Jun 25 (PTI) A day after the Supreme Court upheld the clean chit given by an SIT to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 riots cases, Gujarat police on Saturday arrested former Director General of Police R B Sreekumar and took in custody social activist Teesta Setalvad for allegedly conspiring to falsely implicate innocent persons.The First Information Report, based on a complaint filed by an Ahmedabad crime branch official, also named former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who is already in jail in another case.Setalvad, who was picked up from her Mumbai residence, claimed her arrest was illegal and apprehended threat to her life.She will be arrested once she is brought to Ahmedabad, police sources said.Bhatt is sentenced to life imprisonment in a custodial death case, and in another case he is accused of planting contraband to frame a lawyer in a false case.Setalvad was detained from her house in the Juhu area of Mumbai and later taken to Santacruz police station for informing the local police about her detention, sources said."She has been taken by the Gujarat Anti Terrorist Squad....we were not informed in advance about the case. They barged into the house and assaulted her before taking her with them," alleged her lawyer Vijay Hiremath.But a local police official denied that Setalvad was assaulted.Setalvad, Bhatt and Sreekumar "conspired to abuse the process of law by fabricating false evidence to make several persons to be convicted in an offence that is punishable with capital punishment," said the complaint filed by inspector D B Barad of Ahmedabad crime branch.They instituted "false and malicious criminal proceedings against innocent people with intention to cause injury to several persons, and prepared false records and dishonestly used those records as genuine with the intention to cause damage and injury to many persons," as per the complaint.The complaint drew on various submissions made before the Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed by the Supreme Court to investigate the 2002 Gujarat riots cases and submissions made by the accused before the Justice Nanavati-Shah Commission of Inquiry.The FIR was registered earlier in the day under sections 468, 471 (forgery), 194 (giving or fabricating false evidence with intent to procure conviction of capital offence), 211 (institute criminal proceedings to cause injury), 218 (public servant framing incorrect record or writing with intent to save person from punishment or property from forfeiture), and 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code."Setalvad conjured, concocted, forged, fabricated facts and documents and/or evidence including fabrication of documents by persons who were protective witnesses of the complainant (Zakia Jafri)," as per the complaint.Setalvad and her NGO were co-petitioner with Zakia Jafri in the petition filed against then chief minister Narendra Modi and others in the Supreme Court. Court dismissed the petition on Friday and upheld the clean chit given to Modi and others.The complaint also accused Setalvad of influencing and tutoring witnesses and making them depose on pre-typed affidavits. Even Zakia Jafri was tutored by Setalvad, as was clear from her statement before the Nanavati Commission on August 22, 2003, it said.IPS officers Bhatt and Sreekumar -- who was additional DGP of Armed Unit during the 2002 Godhra riot, and intelligence DGP soon after -- had made several depositions before the Nanavati Commission of Inquiry that were against the Gujarat government, the complaint said. Bhatt allegedly forged various documents mailed to the SIT and also falsely claimed he attended a late night meeting on February 27, 2002, called by the then chief minister (Modi) at his residence, it said.Sreekumar"s nine affidavits before the Nanavati-Shah Commission were the source of many of the allegations in Zakia Jafri"s petition, it claimed.In its judgment passed on Friday, the Supreme Court had observed that "At the end of the day, it appears to us that a coalesced effort of the disgruntled officials of the State of Gujarat along with others was to create sensation by making revelations which were false to their own knowledge."The falsity of their claims had been fully exposed by the SIT after a thorough investigation ... As a matter of fact, all those involved in such abuse of process, need to be in the dock and proceed in accordance with law," the court order said.In its judgment, the apex court had also noted the objections raised by the respondents on Setalvad joining as petitioner number two in the plea after Jafri. The respondents objected on the grounds of Setalvad"s "antecedents" and also for her "ulterior design by exploiting the emotions and sentiments of appellant--Zakia Jafri, the real victim of the circumstances." However, no direct role of Setalvad was mentioned in the court verdict.Jafri"s husband and former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri was killed during the riots.A police officer in Mumbai said Setalvad handed a written complaint to Santacruz police station (when she was taken there), and "they are processing it." Setalvad"s complaint alleged that Gujarat police "barged into" her compound, did not show her a copy of the FIR or warrant against her, and there was a "big bruise" on her left hand."I fear seriously for my life," her complaint added. PTI KA PD DC NSK KRK KRK

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