The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its order on pleas by activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband in a case lodged against them for allegedly misappropriating funds received by her NGOs for the victims of the 2002 Gujarat riots, Mint reported.
The couple had challenged a Gujarat High Court order that had rejected their plea to unfreeze their bank accounts as well as those related to their NGOs.
Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand ran the Sabrang Trust and Mumbai-based Citizens for Justice and Peace. The couple has been accused of allegedly embezzling funds collected through donations to construct a memorial for the 2002 Gujarat riots.
A bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice AM Khanwilkar had assembled to hear Setalvad’s plea. The bench witnessed heated exchange of words between the activist and the Gujarat government’s counsel, Tushar Mehta, reported The Times of India.
Mehta told the apex court that Setalvad had siphoned off the NGOs’ funds, meant for spreading secular education, for personal purposes, including liquor consumption. After Setalvad argued that the state was trying to paralyse her activities, the government counsel added that upon learning that their accounts were going to be frozen, the couple had withdrawn and siphoned off crores.
Kapil Sibal, who was representing Setalvad, questioned how the offence had been made out in the first place. “The transactions are between my client and the donor who has not complained. It is not the government’s money in question. Then under what law is an offence being made out?” he asked.
A First Information Report against the couple had been filed with the Gujarat Police on charges of cheating, breach of trust and misappropriation of funds. Their bank accounts had also been frozen, and the Gujarat Police is investigating the case.