Teesta Setalvad Received Large Amounts Of Money From A Senior Leader Of A Political Party- SIT Before Supreme Court
The Gujarat Government in its affidavit in reply to the SLP filed by Teesta Setalvad has said that statements of witnesses establish that "the conspiracy was enacted by the present Petitioner (Teesta), along with other accused persons, at the behest of a senior leader of a political party. It is submitted that the Petitioner had held meetings with the said political leader and had received large amounts of money".
The affidavit filed by the Chairman of the Special Investigating Team, Deepan Bhadran IPS also says that ".. it has come on record by way of the statement of a witness that such money was not part of any relief related corpus".
The Affidavit also states that a prima facie case is established against Teesta for an offence that is serious enough and entails a maximum punishment of life.
The Gujarat Government has informed the Court that the FIR registered against Setalvad is not only based on the Supreme Court's judgment but is also backed by evidence based on independent grounds which is clarified in the FIR itself.
Further, the State has also contended that the investigation conducted so far has brought irrefutable material on record to substantiate the contents of the FIR that the applicant, along with other co-accused persons, had done various criminal acts of omission and commission to achieve political, financial and other material benefits by means of executing the conspiracy.
The State has also mentioned that Setalvad hatched a larger conspiracy along with other accused persons with oblique motives as clearly emerged in the statements of various witnesses which are serious and independent offences.
The affidavit mentions that witnesses have stated that within a week of the riots, the Petitioner had come to Ahmedabad and held several meetings with various political functionaries and other co-accused.
It has also been alleged that the statements of the two witnesses further reflect that the meeting was also held in New Delhi where Setalvad and other co-accused persons participated. The said witness further stated that during such meeting, conspiracy was hatched to falsely implicate others and create false evidence against various persons having no role in any offence. It has been further submitted that these are separate and independent offences totally unconnected with anything else.
The affidavit further also states that in furtherance of the larger conspiracy, the Petitioner generated false evidence and false charges, invoking the names of persons other than those stated by victims in various riot cases.
The state has also made legal submissions about the maintainability of the SLP stating that "the High Court is seized of the very prayer for bail which is being prayed for in this petition".
".. the High Court of Gujarat is the High Court for the State and dates are fixed as per the number of matters pending for consideration before it keeping bail applications of other accused citizens also in mind. It could not have been possible for the High Court to give any special treatment to the petitioner over other accused who are similarly situated citizens..", the affidavit says in justification of the High Court's decision to fix the hearing of the bail application on September, 19.
On August 22, the Supreme Court issued a notice to the Gujarat Government to file its response on the bail plea filed by Setalvad who had sought bail after the Gujarat High Court had adjourned her bail plea without granting any interim relief.
Teesta Seetalvad had moved the Supreme Court challenging the refusal of interim relief by the Gujarat High Court in the case filed against Teesta by Gujarat ATS alleging that she had been falsifying records in order to implicate high-ranking officials in the 2002 Gujarat Riot Case.
Earlier, a sessions court in Ahmedabad had refused bail to Teesta Setalvad and former Director General of Police R B Sreekumar.
Teesta Seetalvad was arrested by the Gujarat ATS a day after the Supreme Court bench led by Justice A. M. Khanwilkar had pronounced the judgment in the plea filed by Zakia Jafri challenging the clean chit given by SIT to the high-ranking officials and the then Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi in the 2002 Gujarat Riot Case.
The Gujarat police had opposed Teesta Setalvad's bail application. She was part of a "larger conspiracy" carried out at the behest of late Congress leader Ahmed Patel to dismiss the BJP government in the state after the 2002 riots, claimed an affidavit filed by the police's Special Investigation Team before the sessions court.