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Supreme Court affirms bail granted to Teesta Setalvad, her husband in embezzlement case

By LAWSTREET NEWS NETWORK      01 November, 2023 03:57 PM      0 Comments
Supreme Court affirms bail granted to Teesta Setalvad her husband in embezzlement case

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday affirmed the pre-arrest bail granted to activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand in a case of embezzlement of funds.

The apex court declined to interfere with a 2019 Gujarat High Court order, granting anticipatory bail.

A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Sudhanshu Dhulia, and Prashant Kumar Mishra directed the couple to co-operate with the investigating agency in the case.

The court was hearing a batch of pleas filed by Setalvad, her husband, and also by the Gujarat police and the CBI arising out of FIRs in connection with allegations of embezzlement of funds.

The bench sought to know from Additional Solicitor General S V Raju, appearing for the Gujarat police and the CBI, as to what survived in this matter.

Advocate Swati Ghildiyal appeared for the Gujarat government.

Raju claimed there was on non-cooperation by the couple. He said the protection for them continued, but it is not that such protection will be enjoyed without any fetters.

"What has happened now? What is the purpose that this came up before us now? What has happened in the main case," the bench asked.

In a separate matter, the bench noted that a charge sheet was filed in 2016 and the bail was regularised in 2017, therefore nothing survived in the matter and the petition is disposed of.

Disposing of another matter, the bench said special leave petitions were filed challenging grant of bail on certain terms and conditions and a considerable passage of time has already elapsed.

“On our query, we are informed that even the chargesheet has not been filed. ASG submits that there is an element of lack of cooperation on part of respondent and that is why the chargesheet has not been filed. Be that as it may, all that we would like to say at this stage is, respondents (Setalvad and her husband) will cooperate with the investigation as and when they are required to,” the bench said.

Appearing for the couple, senior advocate Kapil Sibal and advocate Aparna Bhat requested the court to affirm the anticipatory bail.

They said that the Gujarat police have also moved the apex court against anticipatory bail.

“Interim order dated February 12, 2015, shall continue for the benefit of the appellant. Appeal stands disposed of,” the bench said.

The apex court also disposed of a plea by Gujarat police challenging grant of anticipatory bail.

"Chargesheet has not yet been filed. ASG submits that same is on account of non-cooperation on part of respondents. Be that as it may, the appropriate order to be passed would be to direct the respondents to continue to cooperate with the investigation. Order already granted is made absolute,” the bench said.

It was alleged in the FIR, NGO, Sabrang Trust, run by Setalvad and Javed Anand, had received Rs 1.4 crore fund from the Union Ministry of Human Resources Development for the trust's 'Khoj project' for education.

It was further claimed that the grant, which was received under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan was transferred to the personal bank accounts of the activists and was used for personal and political purposes as well as on paying witnesses in 2002 Gujarat riots cases to make false depositions. The complaint was filed by Setalvad's former close associate, Raees Khan Pathan.



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