Activist Teesta Setalvad, who has been arrested for allegedly committing forgery and fabricating evidence in a case related to the 2002 Gujarat riots, on Tuesday moved a bail plea in the Supreme Court, Live Law reported.
Setalvad’s petition was mentioned by Advocate Aparna Bhat before Chief Justice of India NV Ramana for urgent listing. Ramana agreed to list the matter on August 22 before a bench led by chief justice-designate UU Lalit.
On August 1, Setalvad approached the Gujarat High Court for bail.
According to Bar and Bench, the High Court issued a notice on August 2 seeking response of the Special Investigation Team looking into the case. The hearing in this matter is scheduled on September 19.
In her plea filed before the Supreme Court, Setalvad has objected to this long gap in the next hearing date.
She has cited the Supreme Court judgement in the Satendar Kumar Antil and Central Bureau of Investigation case, stating that bail matters must be heard expeditiously, Bar and Bench reported.
“Despite the same, the first date fixed by Hon’ble High Court in the present case is after one and a half months,” the plea stated.
Earlier on July 30, an Ahmedabad court had denied bail to Setalvad and former Director General of Police RB Sreekumar. They were arrested on June 26 from their homes in Mumbai and Gandhinagar.
The court said that documents submitted by the police showed that Setalvad and Sreekumar used Zakia Jafri, the wife of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, as a tool to make allegations against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was the chief minister of Gujarat during the 2002 riots.
Ehsan Jafri was hacked to death when a mob went on a rampage in Gulberg Society on February 28, 2002, setting fire to homes.
Zakia Jafri and Setalvad’s non-governmental organisation Citizens for Justice and Peace had moved the Supreme Court challenging the report of a Special Investigation Team that had cleared Modi of involvement in the riots. They sought a fresh investigation into the “larger conspiracy” behind the violence.
In the aftermath of the carnage, Setalvad founded the organisation that assisted the victims in filing cases, arranged funds to pursue the matters in courts and offered protection to witnesses. Sreekumar, meanwhile, had questioned the role of officers from his own department during the riots.
But in the order passed by the Ahmedabad court, the judge alleged that Setalvad and Sreekumar levelled the allegations in order to “defame the country” and get monetary benefits from other nations.
On June 24, the Supreme Court dismissed Zakia Jafri and Setalvad’s plea challenging Modi’s exoneration in the violence.
While dismissing the petition, the court noted that certain people had filed the petition “to keep the pot boiling for ulterior design”. It said that these people must be “in the dock and proceeded with in accordance with law”.
A day after the judgement, Setalvad and Sreekumar were booked by the Gujarat Police’s Anti-Terrorism Squad. The first information report filed against them quoted heavily from the Supreme Court judgement.
Just before she was arrested, Union Home Minister Amit Shah accused Setalvad of feeding baseless information to the police about the riots to tarnish Modi’s image.