HC to hear Teesta Setalvad’s bail plea on Monday
Social activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand on Thursday moved the Gujarat High Court against a lower court order rejecting their anticipatory bail plea in a fund embezzlement case. Setalvad's petition challenging the lower court order may come up for hearing on Monday in the high court.
The city sessions court had on Wednesday rejected the anticipatory bail plea of Setalvad and Anand in the Rs 1.4 crore alleged fund embezzlement case related to their NGO Sabrang Trust. The duo had moved the plea for anticipatory bail following an FIR lodged against them on March 30 this year by complainant Raees Khan Pathan.
The Supreme Court had last month granted temporary relief to Setalvad and Anand extending their interim protection from arrest and transit anticipatory bail from May 2 to May 31, granted to them by the Bombay High Court. The apex court had said that the duo will not be arrested till May 31, but before that they would have to approach the competent court in the state which will decide the matter on merits.
Opposing the bail plea in the lower court, the crime branch of the Gujarat Police had earlier claimed that the couple had misused the money granted to their NGO Sabrang Trust by the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development between 2010 and 2013 for educational purposes, for their "personal and political cause".
In its submission, the crime branch had said that the accused misused the funds "to pay witnesses in serious cases in Gujarat (2002 riot cases) to make false deposition".
During this period, Setalvad worked as field co-coordinator for her NGO Citizen for Justice and Peace, while her husband Javed Anand was the trustee of the Sabrang Trust.
The ministry had granted Rs 1.4 crore between 2010 and 2013 to the NGO for a scheme under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, according to the submission made by the Gujarat Police in the court opposing their plea.
Complainant Raees Khan Pathan, a former aide of Setalvad, had lodged an FIR against them and some unidentified officials of the HRD Ministry under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
In its submission, the crime branch had stated the investigation was at a sensitive stage and the accused were capable of affecting evidences against them if they were prevented from arrest.
Under the 'Khoj project', the Sabrang Trust published literature and pamphlets that spread communal hatred which was against the Constitution and judiciary and "dangerous for the country's unity", the police had alleged. Setalvad pitched for fund by misusing her position as a member of the Central Advisory Board of Education of the HRD Ministry, police had alleged.