Days after a sessions court here rejected their bail applications, social activist Teesta Setalvad and retired IPS officer RB Sreekumar have moved the Gujarat High Court for relief in a case where they are accused of fabricating documents to ’frame innocent people’ in the 2002 riots cases, their lawyers said on Tuesday. Setalvad and Sreekumar, arrested by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Gujarat police in June, on Monday approached the HC with pleas for regular bail in the case.
Their respective lawyers confirmed their clients have filed bail applications before the HC and the pleas will come up for hearing in coming days.On July 30, a sessions court had rejected their applications for relief, saying if they were released on bail, it will send a message to wrongdoers that a person can level allegations with impunity and get away with them.
The accused apparently aimed to destabilize the Gujarat government and defame the state for their ulterior motives, additional principal judge D D Thakkar said while denying them relief.The sessions court had noted that the two accused were ”actively interested in defaming the state of Gujarat for their ulterior motives as well as political aspirations, and they did so for obtaining personal goal and monetary benefit from one political faction as well as other countries.
Setalvad and Sreekumar were arrested by the Ahmedabad city crime branch in June after a First Information Report (FIR) was registered against them under Indian Penal Code sections 468 (forgery for cheating) and 194 (fabricating false evidence with intent to procure conviction for capital offences).Former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, the third accused in the case, had not applied for bail. Bhatt was already in jail in another criminal matter when he was arrested in the case.
While opposing the bail pleas before the sessions court, the SIT probing the case cited a witness statement to allege the accused were part of a conspiracy carried out at the behest of late Congress leader Ahmed Patel to destabilize the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government led by then-Chief Minister Narendra Modi.Setalvad and Sreekumar were arrested after the Supreme Court on June 24 dismissed a petition filed by Zakia Jafri, the wife of former Congress MP Ehsaan Jafri who was killed in Ahmedabad during the post-Godhra riots.