Teesta Setalvad’s bail plea: SC questions delayed listing, hearing to continue on Friday | India News


NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday wondered why the Gujarat high court has listed the bail plea of activist Teesta Setalvad for hearing on September 19, six weeks after it sent a notice to the state government seeking a response to her application, and asked the state to inform it by 2pm on Friday about whether such a precedent existed there.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and justices S Ravindra Bhat and Sudhanshu Dhulia posted the plea of Setalvad for further hearing on Friday.
“We will hear this case tomorrow at 2pm. Give us instances where a lady accused in such cases has got such dates from high court. Either this lady has been made an exception. How can the court give this date? Is this standard practice in Gujarat?” an apparently displeased CJI said.
The Gujarat high court had on August 3 issued a notice to the state government on the bail plea of Setalvad and fixed the matter for hearing on September 19.
Chief Justice Lalit orally observed that offences against Setalvad are normal IPC offences, having no bar on grant of bail.
“These are not offences like murder or bodily injury but based on documents like forgery etc. In these matters the normal idea is after normal police custody is over, there is nothing for the police to insist on custody.”
Teesta Setalvad was arrested for allegedly fabricating evidence to frame “innocent people” in the 2002 Gujarat riots cases.
In response to the bail plea, the Gujarat government said that the activist had “enacted” the conspiracy along with other accused at the behest of a senior political leader.
The state government, in an affidavit in response to Setalvad’s bail plea, claimed that she had held meetings with the said political leader and received “large amounts of money”.
On August 22, the Supreme Court sought a response from the Gujarat government on the bail plea of Setalvad, who was arrested in June in the case.
A sessions court at Ahmedabad, on July 30, rejected the bail applications of Setalvad and former director general of police RB 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 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.
They were arrested by the Ahmedabad city crime branch in June after an FIR was registered against them under IPC sections 468 (forgery for cheating) and 194 (fabricating false evidence with intent to procure conviction for capital offences).
(With inputs from agencies)

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