Gujarat: Social activist Setalvad, ex-DGP Sreekumar remanded in police custody till July 2

A court in Ahmedabad on Sunday remanded social activist Teesta Setalvad and former state director general of police RB Sreekumar in police custody till July 2 in a case of fabricating evidence to frame innocent persons in connection with the 2002 Gujarat riots.

The prosecution had sought 14-day remand of Setalvad and Sreekumar.

The court of metropolitan magistrate SP Patel sent Setalvad and Sreekumar, both arrested in connection with an FIR lodged on Saturday by the city crime branch, to police custody till July 2, said public prosecutor Mitesh Amin.

Setalvad had accused the police of roughing her up and bruising her arm when she was picked up on Saturday by the Gujarat Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) personnel from her Mumbai home. She was brought here and handed over to the city crime branch on Sunday.

During the course of the hearing, she was taken to the city civil hospital for medical examination as per the court’s direction.

“The court has kept the medical certificate in its record. We had demanded 14-day remand on the ground that the two accused produced fabricated evidence such as affidavits. There is need to interrogate them to know who their political masters are, as the apex court observed that the matter was politicised,” Amin said.

Sreekumar was arrested on Saturday, and Setalvad on Sunday. Former IPS officer and accused Sanjiv Bhatt, who is serving life sentence in a custodial death case and is lodged in a jail in Palanpur in Banaskantha district, will be brought to Ahmedabad on a transfer warrant.

The city crime branch had registered an FIR against the three accused on Saturday, a day after the Supreme Supreme Court dismissed a petition challenging the clean chit given by the SIT to then chief minister Narendra Modi and others in 2002 post-Godhra riots cases.

Setalvad, Sreekumar and Bhatt are accused of abusing the process of law by conspiring to fabricate evidence with an attempt to frame innocent people for an offence punishable with capital punishment in connection with the 2002 Gujarat riots.

While dismissing plea of Zakia Jafri, widow of slain former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, the apex court had observed, “At the end of the day, it appears to us that a coalesced effort of the disgruntled officials of the State of Gujarat along with others was to create sensation by making revelations which were false to their own knowledge.” The trio has been booked under sections 468, 471 (forgery), 194 (giving or fabricating false evidence with intent to procure conviction of capital offence), 211 (institute criminal proceedings to cause injury), 218 (public servant framing incorrect record or writing with intent to save person from punishment or property from forfeiture), and 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy).

The complaint drew upon documents of proceedings and other materials to make out a case of cognizable offence against them.

It took into account submissions made before the Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed by the Supreme Court to investigate the 2002 Gujarat riots cases and the Justice Nanavati-Shah Commission of Inquiry appointed by the Gujarat government.

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