The Special Investigation Team (SIT) on Thursday filed a 7,000-page chargesheet against activist Teesta Setalvad, retired DGP RB Sreekumar and sacked IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt in a case of alleged ‘fabrication of evidence’ in connection with the 2002 Gujarat riots.
The SIT has included in the chargesheet statements of over 100 people. Former IPS officer Rahul Sharma is the prime witness in this matter. The SIT has also identified email conversations between Sharma and Bhatt.
On September 21, a 100-page chargesheet against Setalvad, Sreekumar and Bhatt was submitted before the Ahmedabad metropolitan magistrate’s court in the case of alleged fabrication of evidence in connection with the riots.
According to the SIT, the accused allegedly plotted to get death penalty for then Chief Minister Narendra Modi, a claim that is part of the chargesheet. Despite being government officials, Sreekumar and Bhatt created fake documents on behalf of Teesta and added them to official entries, the chargesheet says.
“The accused wanted to end Narendra Modi’s political career and damage his reputation. For this, an army of lawyers was hired to prepare fake documents and affidavits,” the charge sheet says.
Riot-hit people were manipulated and their signatures were forcibly taken on the fabricated statements. The statements were in English and those people could not understand what they signed on, the SIT has said, adding that the riot witnesses were threatened by Setalvad if they refused to support her.
Who is Teesta Setalvad?
Setalvad operates ‘Citizens for Justice and Peace’, a non-profit organisation formed in the aftermath of the 2002 violence, which claims to provide legal aid to victims of crimes such as riots and terrorism.
Since its inception, the organisation has secured 120 convictions in 68 cases involving nine major riot incidents – a record for convictions for any religious riot in India. Setalvad says she has been routinely targeted for her work. Her house and office were raided a number of times, her bank accounts were frozen on many occasions, and she was relentlessly vilified and threatened on social media, she alleges.
Also Read: Gujarat: SIT Files Chargesheet Against Teesta Setalvad, Srikumar And Sanjiv Bhatt