Investigation In Gujarat Riots Forgery Case Begins Against Teesta Setalvad And Two Others
Gujarat Police has formed an SIT to probe the role of arrested activist Teesta Setalvad and former DGP RB Sreekumar in forgery related to the 2002 riots.
The sequence of events: The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the SIT's clean chit to then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and 63 others in the 2002 riots.
An FIR was registered on Saturday which accused Setalvad and two former IPS officers – Sreekumar and Sanjiv Bhatt – of forgery, criminal conspiracy, and instituting criminal proceedings to cause injury, among others.
Setalvad and Sreekumar were arrested following this FIR, while Bhatt is currently lodged in jail after being convicted of life imprisonment in a custodial death case.
The police produced Sreekumar and Setalvad before a court in Ahmedabad which granted their remand till 1 July.
The SIT headed by Gujarat ATS DIG Deepan Bhadran was formed on Sunday for further investigation.
Who is Teesta Setalvad: She is the secretary of NGO Citizens for Justice and Peace. Setalvad and her NGO were co-petitioners with Zakia Jafri in the petition filed against Modi and others in the SC.
She is accused of conspiring to fabricate facts and documents, tutor witnesses and abuse the process of law by fabricating false evidence to frame people.
She comes from an influential family. Her paternal grandfather, MC Setalvad was India's first Attorney General. Her husband Javed Anand is a journalist turned minority rights activist.
She received Padma Shri in 2007. This is the same year in which she pushed the SC into launching a fresh probe into the post-Godhra violence.
The allegations: The FIR was registered under these IPC sections:
468 (forgery), 471 (using as genuine a forged document or electronic record)
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)
120 (B) (criminal conspiracy)
Why investigation now: The FIR states SC's Friday order which clearly establishes that Bhatt, Sreekumar, Setalvad and others had conspired to abuse the process of law.
All those involved in such abuse of process need to be in the dock and proceeded with as per law, says Crime Branch DCP Chaitanya Mandlik.
The investigators are not ruling out the involvement of other people in creating false documents, using them in judicial processes to implicate people in cases of serious crimes such as communal riots.
How investigation proceeds: The police will collect the documents submitted by the three accused in connection with the 2002 riots cases.
The police have also begun the process of getting a transfer warrant for Bhatt’s custody in connection with the FIR.
The investigation will be carried out by the ACP of the Ahmedabad Special Operations Group (SOG).
Setalvad and Sreekumar will be produced before the court on 2 July. The decision on further custody will be taken during the hearing.
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