A Gujarat court on Sunday remanded activist Teesta Setalvad in police custody till July 2, her lawyer told Scroll.in.
She was produced before a metropolitan magistrate court in Ahmedabad earlier today by the Gujarat Police, according to ANI. It had asked the court to grant 14 days of custody.
Setalvad was detained from her house in the Juhu area of Mumbai on Saturday afternoon in connection with a case of alleged forgery, criminal conspiracy and insulting criminal proceedings to cause injury. Former Gujarat Director General of Police RB Sreekumar was also arrested in the case from his home in Gandhinagar.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Chaitanya Mandlik said that Setalvad was formally arrested earlier on Sunday, ANI reported. “The accused are not supporting us in the investigation,” Mandlik said.
The action against Setalvad and Sreekumar was taken based on a complaint filed in Ahmedabad by Police Inspector Darshansinh B Barad. He had also named suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who is serving life imprisonment in a 1990 custodial death case, amongst others in his complaint.
In his complaint, Barad had cited a Supreme Court judgement on a plea filed by Zakia Jafri, the wife of Ehsan Jafri.
In her plea, Zakia Jafri had challenged the report of a Special Investigation Team that had cleared Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a case about the 2002 Gujarat riots. Setalvad and her NGO – Citizens for Justice and Peace – were co-petitioners with Jafri in the petition, according to PTI.
On Friday, the court had dismissed allegations of “larger conspiracy” levelled by Zakia Jafri saying that her plea was filed “to keep the pot boiling for ulterior design”. In its judgement, the court had also read a statement made by the state government that Setalvad, a co-petitioner in the case, exploited the emotions of Zakia Jafri.
On Saturday, a first information report was filed against Setalvad, Sreekumar, Bhatt and others based on Barad’s complaint.
“Sanjiv Bhatt, RB Sreekumar, Teesta Setalvad and others conspired to abuse the process of law by fabricating false evidence to make several persons to be convicted for an offence that is punishable with capital punishment thereby committing an offence punishable under section 194 of the IPC,” the FIR alleged.
The findings submitted by the Special Investigation Team in the Gujarat riots case indicated that Setalvad had forged some facts and documents, the FIR alleged.
Meanwhile, Setalvad alleged that she was assaulted by two members of the Ahmedabad Anti-Terrorism Squad when they arrived at her home in Mumbai on Saturday.
“Both of them forcibly came into my bedroom, assaulted me when I was only asking for them to allow me to speak to my lawyer Vijay Hiremath before I proceed [with the detention],” she wrote in her complaint. “They did not show me any FIR or warrant on why they had [8 to 9 people] barge into my compound.”
Meanwhile, hours before Setalvad was detained, Union Minister Amit Shah had told ANI that Zakia Jafri had pursued the case on “someone else’s” instructions.
“NGO signed affidavits of several victims and they didn’t even know,” he added. “Everyone knows that Setalvad’s NGO [Citizens for Justice and Peace] was doing all this. When the [Congress-led] UPA [United Progressive Alliance] government came to power at that time, it helped the NGO a lot.”
Citizens for Justice and Peace provides legal aid to survivors of the Gujarat riots. Setalvad is the organisation’s secretary.