Teesta Setalvad can be booked for spreading disharmony: Panel suggests govt

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New Delhi, Dec 28: The Human Resource Development ministry might file cases against activist Teesta Setalvad for spreading disharmony and generating ill-will, Ranjit Kumar, Solicitor General of India, said.

[Also Read: Did a hack lead to Teesta Setalvad's NGO licence being renewed automatically?]

While concurring with the findings of the inquiry panel, Kumar added that a First Information Report under Sections 153A and 153B of the Indian Penal Code can be filed.

Teesta Setalvad

The HRD ministry had approached the SG for legal opinion. This opinion was sought when Smriti Irani was the HRD minister. Now with Prakash Javadekar in charge, a final call on whether to file an FIR or not would have to be taken by Javadekar.

Following a complaint by Rais Khan Pathan, a former aid of Setalvad, a three-member inquiry panel had been set up. The complainant had alleged that the activist and her husband Javed Anand had embezzled public money given to their NGO, under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, a programme of the HRD Ministry.

The panel submitted its report in 2015. Kumar is understood to have appreciated the findings by the panel, which observed that Sabrang Trust, the NGO run by Setalvad and her husband, had created disharmony through the study material prepared by it.

The panel had added that Sabrang Trust should have never been considered by the HRD ministry for a scheme of assistance on education since this was never its objective. Had the trust's application been carefully scrutinised it would have been rejected.

However, the ministry chose to sanction Rs 2.06 crore for a two year project. The panel had also observed that those officials in the HRD ministry when the UPA was in power cannot escape accountability. The panel also said that the ministry had also disbursed Rs 1.36 crore out of the total sanctioned amount.

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