Gujarat HC Tells Teesta Setalvad to 'Surrender Immediately', Rejects Bail Plea

The interim bail granted to her by the Supreme Court in September 2022 protected her from arrest thus far. She is facing charges of allegedly fabricating evidence to implicate 'innocent persons' in the 2002 Gujarat riots, including Narendra Modi.

New Delhi: Activist Teesta Setalvad has been asked to “surrender immediately” by the Gujarat high court, which rejected her bail plea in connection with the 2002 Gujarat riots case. The interim bail granted to her by the Supreme Court in September 2022 protected her from arrest thus far.

Justice Nirzar Desai of the high court on Friday, June 30, also turned down the request made by the activist’s lawyer, Mihir Thakore, after the verdict to stay the operation of the judgement for a period of 30 days to allow them to move the Supreme Court.

“In view of the aforesaid discussion, the present application stands dismissed. The applicant who is on interim bail is directed to surrender immediately,” Justice Nirzar ruled, according to Deccan Herald.

Setalvad was arrested on June 25, 2022, in connection with an FIR (first information report) filed by the Ahmedabad Detection of Crime Branch, which accused her of conspiring to falsely implicate allegedly innocent persons in connection with the 2002 Gujarat riots. She was in police remand for seven days and was later sent to judicial custody on July 2 last year.

She was arrested along with a co-accused in the case, former IPS officer R. B. Sreekumar, just a day after the Supreme Court had dismissed a plea by Zakia Jafri, wife of slain Congress MP Ahsan Jafri, against the Gujarat special investigation team, which gave a clean chit to the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and others in the 2002 riots.

Rejecting Jafri’s plea, the top court had said that the proceedings were pursued to “keep the pot boiling, obviously, for ulterior design” and ordered the law enforcement agencies to proceed against those who “abuse process”. “All those involved in such abuse of process, need to be in the dock and proceed in accordance with law,” the apex court had said.

The charge sheet filed in the case accuses Setalvad of making efforts to implicate “then chief minister (and now Prime Minister Narendra Modi) and higher officials of the state government and top leaders of the BJP” for the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat. It says she had “hatched a conspiracy” to institute a “false case with false evidence”.