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Activist Teesta Setalavad Sent to Five-Day Police Custody in Godhra Riots Case

The Ahmedabad crime branch said that none of the two accused – Setalvad and Sreekumar – are cooperating in the investigation. He added that more people may be involved in the criminal conspiracy.

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Ahmedabad: Activist Teesta Setalavad, as well as former Gujarat director-general of police S.B. Sreekumar, have been sent to five-day police custody after being accused of being part of a criminal conspiracy with regards to the 2002 riots in Gujarat.

Setalavad and Sreekumar will be produced before an Ahmedabad court on July 2.

The Ahmedabad crime branch on Sunday, June 26, had sought 14-day remand of social activist Teesta Setalvad, saying she is not cooperating with police during investigation.

According to Hindustan Times, the Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Sunday handed her over to the crime branch in connection with a fresh case of forgery, criminal conspiracy and insulting criminal proceedings to cause injury registered against her.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (crime), Chaitanya Mandlik, told news agency PTI that the more people may be involved in the criminal conspiracy and the probe is being conducted from this angle. He added that none of the two accused – Sreekumar and Setalvad – are cooperating in the investigation.

A day earlier, the crime branch had arrested former Gujarat DGP Sreekumar and is in the process of getting a transfer warrant for ex-IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt’s custody in connection with the first information report lodged against them, Mandlik said.

He said the crime branch will collect documents submitted by Setalvad, Sreekumar and Bhatt to the Commission of Inquiry, the Special Investigation Team (SIT), and courts regarding the 2002 communal riots cases as part of the investigation.

“The investigation is underway in this case and we are procuring documents that were submitted by the accused persons before the Commission of Inquiry, SIT (formed by the Supreme Court to investigate 2002 riots cases), and different courts…Affidavits and other documents are the main basis for the FIR, and we are trying to collect other documents as well,” he told reporters.

“After being brought here, Setalvad was handed over to the city crime branch on Sunday morning. She will soon be placed under arrest,” a crime branch source had told the news agency earlier in the day.

Also read: Gujarat Police Arrest Teesta Setalvad, Activist Who Pursued 2002 Riots Case Against Modi

On June 25, Saturday evening, Setalvad was picked by the anti-terrorism squad (ATS) of the Gujarat Police from her house in Mumbai, taken to a local police station and then driven to Ahmedabad, her family told The Wire.

According to PTI, crime branch inspector D.B. Barad had lodged a complaint against her in connection with the case, and therefore, she was was brought to Ahmedabad via road by the Gujarat Police squad.

After her detention, Setalvad claimed her “arrest” was illegal and apprehended a threat to her life. According to the PTI report, she alleged that she was roughed up by the Gujarat Police, to which Mandlik said that due process was followed and Setalvad is free to lodge a complaint before the court of the magistrate.

An FIR was lodged against Setalvad, Sreekumar, and Bhatt, after the Supreme Court dismissed a petition challenging the clean chit given by the SIT to then chief minister Narendra Modi and others in the 2002 Godhra riots cases.

“The FIR is based on the observation made by the Supreme Court in its judgment, which said, “As a matter of fact, all those involved in such abuse of process, need to be in the dock and proceed as per law,” Mandlik said.

Setalvad and her NGO were co-petitioners with Zakia Jafri in the petition filed against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and others in the Supreme Court. Jafri’s husband, Ehsan Jafri, who was also a Congress MP, was burnt to death by rioters in Gujarat.

While former DGP Sreekumar was arrested, Bhatt is currently lodged in jail after being convicted of life imprisonment in a custodial death case. In another case, he has also been charged with planting contraband to frame a lawyer.

Setalvad, Bhatt and Sreekumar have been accused of having conspired “to abuse the process of law by fabricating false evidence to make several persons to having committed an offence that is punishable with capital punishment.”

(With inputs from PTI)