A sessions court in Ahmedabad on Friday adjourned bail applications filed by activist Teesta Setalvad and former Gujarat Director General of Police RB Sreekumar till July 15, The Times of India reported.
Setalvad was arrested on June 26 for allegedly committing forgery and fabricating evidence in a case related to the 2002 Gujarat riots. Sreekumar was later arrested on the same charges.
While the lawyers for the accused persons sought an early hearing, the prosecution asked for more time, saying that it needed to place voluminous documents on record. These documents included the summary report of a Special Investigation Team which looked into allegations of a larger conspiracy behind the riots.
Setalvad and Sreekumar were arrested by the Gujarat Police’s Anti-Terrorism Squad two days after the Supreme Court had dismissed a plea filed by Setalvad and Zakia Jafri, the wife of former Congress MP, challenging the report of a Special Investigation Team that had cleared Narendra Modi from the case. Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat during the riots.
The court had said that the petition was filed “to keep the pot boiling for ulterior design”.
The Gujarat Police’s FIR cites a portion of the Supreme Court judgement that said that “all those involved in such abuse of process, need to be in the dock and proceeded with in accordance with law”, The Indian Express reported.
It also cited verbatim a number of arguments that the Special Investigation Team made before the Supreme Court.
Several international organisations of human rights have criticised the case and called for the release of Setalvad and Sreekumar.
On June 27, 2,231 residents from 21 states had condemned the activists’ arrests. said that the Supreme Court’s judgement on the plea of Zakia Jafri deepens the sense of injustice and marks a moment of profound hurt and loss for all those who care about constitutional values.
“The Supreme Court not only dismissed the idea that there was a conspiracy to commit the crimes of murder, rape and destruction of property, but instead went further and took to task those who sought to ensure justice for the communal hate crimes following the Godhra incident,” the signatories said.
The United Nations Human Rights Office said on June 28 that Setalvad, Sreekumar and former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt “must not be persecuted for their activism and solidarity with the victims of the 2002 Gujarat riots”. Bhatt has also been named in the FIR, but he is serving life imprisonment in a 1990 custodial death case.