The Gujarat High Court on Wednesday granted interim bail to former Director General of Police RB Sreekumar in a case of alleged forgery and fabrication of evidence, in which activist Teesta Setalvad is one of the co-accused persons.
The police have accused Sreekumar, Setalvad and former Indian Police Service officer Sanjiv Bhatt of fabricating evidence pertaining to the 2002 Gujarat riots to destabilise the state government. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat at the time.
On July 30, an Ahmedabad court had denied bail to Sreekumar and Setalvad, following which they moved the Gujarat High Court.
Advocate YN Ravani, appearing for Sreekumar, argued that his client should be granted interim bail since a chargesheet has already been filed in the case. The lawyer also urged the court to consider Sreekumar’s old age. He added that Sreekumar wanted to file a fresh bail petition.
Justice Ilesh J Vora of the Gujarat High Court agreed to grant interim bail till November 15 on a personal bond of Rs 10,000. The judge also asked Sreekumar to surrender his passport to the police and appear before the jail authorities when the bail period ends.
The court said that it will hear Sreekumar’s fresh petition along with that of Setalvad’s on November 15.
The arrest of Setalvad and Sreekumar
On June 24, the Supreme Court dismissed Zakia Jafri and Setalvad’s plea challenging Modi’s exoneration in the violence. Zakia Jafri is the wife of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, was hacked to death when a mob went on a rampage in Gulberg Society in Ahmedabad on February 28, 2002, setting fire to homes.
While dismissing the petition, the Supreme Court had 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.