SC asks CBI, Gujarat Govt why they want Teesta Setalvad in jail

The Supreme Court on Wednesday questioned the CBI and the Gujarat government as to why they want to send human rights activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand back in jail after they have been out for over seven years on anticipatory bail.

“Question is how long can you keep someone in custody. Seven years have passed since anticipatory bail was granted. You want to send her back to custody,” asks the bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Abhay S Oka and BV Nagarathna.

The apex court was hearing a batch of pleas filed by Setalvad, Anand, the Gujarat police and the CBI arising out of three FIRs lodged against the couple, PTI reported.

On March 19, 2015, the top court had referred to a larger bench the anticipatory bail plea of Setalvad and her husband in the case of alleged embezzlement of funds for a museum at Ahmedabad’s Gulbarg Society devastated in the 2002 Muslim genocide and extended its interim order protecting them against arrest.

In 2014, an FIR was registered against them with DCP, Crime Branch, Ahmedabad, on charges of cheating, breach of trust and under the IT Act in a matter related to the construction of the “Museum of Resistance” in the Gulbarg housing society.

Advocate Rajat Nair, appearing for the CBI and the Gujarat government said some additional material needed to be placed before the court with regard to the cases and, therefore, four weeks time may be given, the news website reported.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal and advocate Aparna Bhat, appearing for Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand, said in one of the proceedings in which the CBI has come in appeal, anticipatory bail was granted following which a charge sheet was filed and after that regular bail was granted to her.

Nair said this had happened in one case but there are more than one case against her and requested the court to grant him four weeks to place additional material on record.

The bench posted the matter for further hearing after four weeks.