SC extends interim bail of Teesta, ask to cooperate in probe
New Delhi, Jan 28: The Supreme Court today extended the interim bail of social activists Teesta Setalvad and her husband till March 18 but asked them to cooperate in the probe in two criminal cases of alleged embezzlement of funds and the foreign contribution law lodged by Gujarat Police and CBI.
CBI and the state police told a bench headed by Justice AR Dave that Teesta was not cooperating with the investigation and the couple was also not supplying relevant documents relating to how the funds were spent.
While Gujarat police is probing the alleged embezzlement of funds for a museum at Ahmedabad's Gulbarg Society that was devastated in the 2002 riots, the CBI is investigating the purported violations of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) in connection with the utilisation of funds received from Ford Foundation by Sabrang Communications and Publishing Pvt Ltd, run by the couple.
The submissions of Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar and senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani on behalf of CBI and the state police respectively was refuted by senior advocate Kapil Sibal and Kamini Jaiswal, who said the allegation of non-cooperation was being made against Teesta and her husband Javed Anand as the probe was not suiting the investigators.
Taking note of submissions of both sides, the bench, also comprising Justices FMI Kalifulla and V Gopala Gowda, directed Teesta and Javed that if they have not supplied the relevant documents relating to the embezzlement case to Gujarat Police in accordance with the list provided to them by investigators, they would "furnish those documents as soon as possible and preferrably within two weeks."
In the FCRA case, the bench asked the couple to file an affidavit within two weeks explaining their stand on the issue of utilisation of funds procured by Sabrang and posted both the cases for hearing on March 9.
At the outset, both CBI and the state police alleged that they were not getting cooperation from Teesta in their probe and the matter of anticipatory bail has been pending for almost a year.
"They are not special accused," Jethmalani said while seeking for early hearing of the matter. He said the couple also filed an application on May 6, 2015 in the pending anticipatory bail matter seeking to know the "scope of investigation."
Taking note of the submission, the bench orally observed "we will pass an appropriate order giving time for supply of documents and if the order is not complied with, we can even vacate our order (granting anticipatory bail)."