Additional Principal Judge Dilipkumar Dhirajlal Thakker refused to grant bail to activist Teesta Setalvad and former Gujarat DGP RB Sreekumar. The order was significant for the remarks it made. It read: “It apparently appears that Zakia Jafri had been used as a tool by both the applicants-accused and others with a view to accusations levelled against the then C.M and others about the incident was of a larger conspiracy and with a view to that they have prepared a false number of affidavits and documents, in-spite of the things, which were not in real with a view to defame the then C.M. as well as bureaucrat and police personals as well as to defame country in the world as well as to get the monetary benefit from the other countries,” the order said.
Teesta Setalvad and RB Sreekumar were arrested by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) after the Supreme Court judgment which had urged action against persons who had made false allegations against the State of Gujarat regarding its handling of the 2002 communal riots.
Zakia Manipulated, The Complaint A Result Of Instigation
The court apparently formed the opinion that the complaint filed by Zakia Jafri against the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi for Gujarat Riots was instigated by Teesta Setalvad and RB Sreekumar and other accused. The court was of the view that if the applicants are released on bail, then they will tamper with the evidence or influence the investigation.
The Court further noted that the documents and affidavits filed by the accused were false and with an ulterior motive to defame the government in India and abroad. It also said that the same was done to get monetary benefits from other countries.
The offences registered against Setalvad and RB Sreekumar are under Sections 194 (giving or fabricating false evidence), 211 (false charge of offence), 218 (public servant framing incorrect record), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using forged document as genuine) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) 1860.
Supreme Court’s Scathing Remarks
It must be recalled that, on June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court dismissed the plea by Zakia Jafri, wife of slain former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri challenging the Gujarat High Court’s decision of 2017 upholding the Magistrate’s decision to accept the closure report filed by the SIT in the case.
The Supreme Court at that time had said that the disgruntled officials of the State of Gujarat had tried to create a sensation by making false allegations.” The falsity of their claims had been fully exposed by the SIT after a thorough investigation,” the judgement read. It had also uncharacteristically added that such officials need to be in the dock for “keeping pot boiling” with an ulterior motive.
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