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SC issues notice to Gujarat govt on Teesta Setalvad's interim bail plea

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New Delhi, Aug 22: Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to Gujarat government on a plea of Teesta Setalvad seeking interim bail in a case in which she was arrested for allegedly fabricating documents to frame innocent people in 2002 Gujarat riots cases, news agency ANI reported.

Stating that he had represented some of the accused in the Sohrabuddin murder case, Justice Lalit asked whether he counsel has any objection to hearing this case, Kapil Sibal, appearing for Teesta, said "no". Then, the bench, also comprising Justices S Ravindra Bhat and Sudhanshu Dhulia, started hearing the case.

File photo of Teesta Setalvad

Drawing the court's attention towards to the FIR against Setalvad, Sibal said, the allegations in the FIR are pure recitation of proceedings which happened and culminated before the apex court, according to Live Law.

Gujarat court rejects bail pleas of Teesta SetalvadGujarat court rejects bail pleas of Teesta Setalvad

"We issue notice. Returnable on Thursday. Serve State of Gujarat standing counsel. Then we will consider interim relief even when matter is pending in High Court," Bar and Bench quoted the judges as saying.

On August 16, the Supreme Court agreed to list the matter for hearing the bail plea of social activist Teesta Setalvad and took note of the submissions of lawyer Aparna Bhat, appearing for the activist.

The Gujarat High Court, on August 3, issued a notice to the state government on the bail plea of Setalvad and fixed the plea for hearing on September 19.

Prior to this, a sessions court at Ahmedabad, on July 30, had rejected the bail applications of Setalvad and former Director General of Police R B Sreekumar in the case, saying that if they were released, it will send a message to wrongdoers that a person can level allegations with impunity and get away with it.

Setalvad and former Director General of Police (DGP) RB Sreekumar, both arrested in June, are accused of fabricating evidence to frame "innocent people" in the post-Godhra riots cases.

They are lodged in the Sabarmati central jail. Sreekumar has also moved the high court for bail.

Former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, the third accused in the case, has not applied for bail. Bhatt was already in jail for another criminal matter when he was arrested in this case.

The accused apparently aimed to "destabilize" the Gujarat government and defame the state for their ulterior motives, it said while denying them relief.

No visible trend of increase in communal riots every year: Govt in LSNo visible trend of increase in communal riots every year: Govt in LS

They 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).

Mumbai-based Setalvad and Sreekumar were arrested within a couple of days 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 riots, triggered by the torching of a coach of Sabarmati Express by a mob near Godhra station on February 27, 2002.

As many as 59 passengers were charred to death in the incident.

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