Teesta Setalvad Plotted To Topple BJP Govt Post 2002 Riots: SIT To Court

New Delhi: The Gujarat Police on Friday opposed activist Teesta Setalvad’s bail plea, claiming that she was part of a “larger conspiracy” carried out at the behest of late Congress leader Ahmed Patel to dismiss the BJP government in the state after the 2002 riots.

Teesta Setalvad entered into a “larger criminal conspiracy” with a “political motive” to destabilise the Gujarat government in 2001, a Special Investigation Team (SIT) told a city court.

Setalvad was arrested in June, along with former IPS officers RB Sreekumar and Sanjiv Bhatt, for allegedly fabricating evidence to frame innocent people in Gujarat riots cases.

An affidavit filed by the Gujarat Police’s SIT on Friday said: “…the political objective of the applicant while enacting this larger conspiracy, was dismissal or destabilisation of the elected government in Gujarat by hook or by crook, for which the applicant had obtained illegal financial and other benefits and rewards from the rival political party in lieu of her attempts to wrongly implicate and prosecute various authorities and other innocent persons in the State of Gujarat, including the then Chief Minister.”

The affidavit further alleged that the “criminal conspiracy” was carried out at the behest of late Congress leader Ahmed Patel.

…the statements of these two witnesses establish that the conspiracy was enacted by the present applicant, along with other accused persons, at the behest of Late Shri Ahmed Patel, the then Member of Parliament from Rajya Sabha and Political Advisor to the President of the Indian National Congress,” the 12-page document read.

The SIT also told the court that Setalvad had held meetings with Ahmed Patel a few days after the Godhra train burning incident and had allegedly received Rs 5 lakh at the first instance, wherein the money was given to her by a witness on the instructions of Patel.

“Two days later, in a meeting conducted at the Government Circuit House Shahibaug between Late Shri Ahmed Patel and the applicant (Teesta), said witness had handed over Rs 25 lakh more to the applicant on the instruction of Late Ahmed Patel. This cash money given to the applicant was not part of any relief related corpus as all relief material in the form of food materials and other essential commodities was provided across Gujarat by one Gujarat Relief Committee,” the affidavit read.

The SIT also told the court that Setalvad’s meetings with RB Sreekumar, the then ADGP Armed Unit, and Sanjiv Bhatt, the then DCI Security of the State Intelligence Bureau, had no connection to any relief work as these officers in their capacity were not involved in any relief work.

“The ocular evidence collected by the investigating officer points to several meetings that were conducted in Delhi with political leaders after the riots, wherein it was discussed by the accused applicant with the leaders of a prominent national party in power at that time to implicate names of senior leaders of the BJP government of the state of Gujarat in these riot cases,” the SIT told the court, News18 reported.

Citing the statement of another witness, the SIT has apprised the court that for her efforts in “malicious and vexatious prosecution” to falsely project the theory of larger conspiracy. Setalvad was awarded Padma Shri by the then UPA government in 2007.

The Gujarat Police said that analysis of electronic evidence has revealed that top Gujarat Congress leaders were in constant touch with Sanjiv Bhatt during the period in consideration.

“From the various emails, it appears that Shri Sanjiv Bhatt was holding personal meetings with senior Congress leaders as well. In one of the emails, he even mentioned that he was “under exploited” by the lawyer representing Congress before Nanavati Commission of Inquiry. It would suffice to mention here that from the various such email interactions between Congress leaders and others with Sanjiv Bhatt receiving “packages” and also legal assistance provide further credence to their implications in commission of offences done pursuant to the political motive of the larger conspiracy,” the affidavit said.

Opposing the bail application filed by Teesta Setalvad, the SIT told the court that the investigation so far has revealed that she had “conjured facts and fabricated evidence, including fabrication and forgery of documents by persons who were to be prospective witnesses of the complainant”.

“It is not only a case of fabrication of documents and evidences, but also of influencing and tutoring the witnesses and making them depose on pre-typed affidavit… As a matter of fact, applicant has “abused the process” for damning the elected representatives, bureaucracy, police administration and several innocent citizens of the whole State of Gujarat resorting to criminal offences,” the SIT said.

Additional Sessions Judge DD Thakkar, who is hearing the bail application, took the SIT’s reply on record and posted the matter for further hearing on July 18, the report added.

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