The Gujarat police on Friday opposed activist Teesta Setalvad’s bail application and said she was part of a “larger conspiracy” carried out at the behest of late Congress leader Ahmed Patel to dismiss the BJP government, led by then-CM Narendra Modi, in the state after the 2002 riots, claimed an affidavit filed by the police’s Special Investigation Team before the sessions court.
However, the Congress has opposed this, calling the charges manufactured and mischievous.
Additional sessions judge D D Thakkar took the SIT’s reply on record and posted the hearing on the bail application on Monday. Setalvad has been arrested, along with former IPS officers R B Sreekumar and Sanjiv Bhatt, for allegedly fabricating evidence to frame innocent people in Gujarat riots cases.
“The political objective of the applicant (Setalvad) while enacting this larger conspiracy was dismissal or destabilisation of the elected government….She obtained illegal financial and other benefits and rewards from rival political party in lieu of her attempts to wrongly implicate innocent persons in Gujarat,” said the SIT’s affidavit.
Citing the statements of a witness, the SIT said the conspiracy was carried out at the behest of late Ahmed Patel. At Patel’s behest, Setalvad received Rs 30 lakh after post-Godhra riots in 2002, it alleged.
Setalvad used to meet the leaders of a “prominent national party in power at that time in Delhi to implicate names of senior leaders of the BJP government in riot cases,” the SIT further claimed.
It cited another witness to claim that Setalvad in 2006 had asked a Congress leader why the party was giving “chance to only Shabana and Javed” and not making her a member of the Rajya Sabha. Last month, a day after the Supreme Court upheld the clean chit given to then chief minister Narendra Modi and others in Gujarat riots case, state police arrested Setalvad.
She, along with Sreekumar and Bhatt, was booked under IPC sections 468 (forgery) and 194 (giving or fabricating false evidence with intent to procure conviction for capital offence) among other offences.
Congress Slams Charges
The Congress on Saturday dismissed as “mischievous and manufactured”, Gujarat police SIT’s charges that its leader Ahmed Patel had financed civil rights activist Teesta Sitalwad and hatched conspiracy to dislodge the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi-led state government.
“This is part of the Prime Minister’s systematic strategy to absolve himself of any responsibility for the communal carnage unleashed when he was chief minister of Gujarat in 2002. It was his unwillingness and incapacity to control this carnage that had led the-then Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee to remind the chief minister of his rajdharma,” Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh said.
The statement said that this is Prime Minister’s political vendetta machine which does not even spare the departed who were his political adversaries.
“This SIT is dancing to the tune of its political master and will sit wherever it is told to. We know how an earlier SIT chief was rewarded with a diplomatic assignment after he had given a ‘clean chit’ to the chief minister,” Jairam said.
He said giving judgment through press, in an ongoing judicial process, through puppet investigative agencies who trumpet wild allegations as supposed findings, has been the hallmark of the Modi-Shah duo’s tactics for years.
“This is nothing but another example of the same, with the added object of vilifying a deceased person since he is obviously unable and unavailable to refute such brazen lies.”
With inputs from agencies