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Teesta Setalvad and former Gujarat DGP R.B. Sreekumar taken into custody by Gujarat Anti-Terror Squad

Print edition : Aug 04, 2022 T+T-

Teesta Setalvad and former Gujarat DGP R.B. Sreekumar taken into custody by Gujarat Anti-Terror Squad

TV grab of Teesta Setalvad being taken into custody by the Gujarat Anti-Terror Squad, in Mumbai on June 25.

TV grab of Teesta Setalvad being taken into custody by the Gujarat Anti-Terror Squad, in Mumbai on June 25.

Acting quickly on the Supreme Court (S.C.) ruling on June 24, which upheld the clean chit given to Prime Minister Narendra Modi by a Gujarat court, the Gujarat police took into custody Teesta Setalvad, secretary of the Committee for Justice and Peace, and former Gujarat Director General of Police R.B. Sreekumar. The arrest was based on a first information report filed by a Gujarat Police officer alleging the complainants made false charges against Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Gujarat Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) has taken Teesta Setalvad to Ahmedabad, where she will be reportedly ‘detained’.

Close associates of Teesta Setalvad say the action came soon after Union Home Minister Amit Shah gave an interview to a news agency on June 25 in which he accused her of making baseless allegations against him and Narendra Modi over the 2002 Gujarat riots. Between the S.C. judgment and Shah’s interview, they say Teesta Setalvad knew she would be arrested. Setalvad was a co-petitioner along with Zakia Jafri, the wife of the slain MP Ehsan Jafri, in a case which charges Modi of orchestrating a larger conspiracy that included the 2002 carnage.

The eight-page FIR filed by Inspector D.B. Barad dives into the background of the Gulberg Society case and Zakia Jafri’s petition against Modi. After an extensive investigation, he accuses Teesta Setalvad, Sreekumar and former police officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who is in prison on charges of forgery, conspiracy, and under several sections of the Indian Penal Code, of making false charges. Barad says the S.C. verdict fuelled him to file the FIR, a copy of which is circulating in the media. In the FIR, he cites the following paragraph from the judgment: “At the end of the day, it appears to us that a coalesced effort of the disgruntled officials of the State of Gujarat alongwith 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. Intriguingly, the present proceedings have been pursued for last 16 years (from submission of complaint dated 8.6.2006 running into 67 pages and then by filing protest petition dated 15.4.2013 running into 514 pages) including with the audacity to question the integrity of every functionary involved in the process of exposing the devious stratagem adopted (to borrow the submission of learned counsel for the SIT), to keep the pot boiling, obviously, for ulterior design. As a matter of fact, all those involved in such abuse of process, need to be in the dock and proceeded with in accordance with law.”

Teesta Setalvad, in a hand-written complaint against police officer J.H. Patel and a police woman who are with the Gujarat ATS, says she was assaulted by them both when they forced themselves into her room. She writes: “I was only asking for them to allow me to speak to my lawyer Vijay Hiremath before I proceed. They did not show me any FIR or why they had (8-10) people barge into my compound. I have bruises on my left arm, which I showed my lawyer Devyani Kulkarni. There is a chronology before this. At 1 p.m., a call on my landline from the CISF Noida came and asked my colleague who is in-charge of my security and how many. My colleague asked the person calling to call on my mobile number…. Within half an hour of this strange call, two PSO came to our gate from BJP VIP Narayan Rane’s bungalow on the same road and started asking the same question. Within minutes, a posse from the Gujarat ATS stormed our compound [illegible word] all sides including my sister’s home. No warrant or FIR until my lawyer came. Behaviour of all except one policeman was aggressive. I fear seriously for my life….”