Ahmedabad: A metropolitan court in Ahmedabad sent social activist Teesta Setalvad and former Gujarat DGP RB Sreekumar to 14-day judicial custody, informed officials on Saturday. Gujarat Police Crime Branch on Sunday arrested Teesta Setalvad in connection with a case against her NGO which gave baseless information about the 2002 Gujarat riots to the police.
‘Police didn’t seek further remand of accused Teesta Setalvad and RB Sreekumar and asked the court to keep them in judicial custody. The Metropolitan court has sent them to 14-day judicial custody’, said Public Prosecutor Amit Patel. The arrests came after Union Minister Amit Shah, in an interview with ANI, said that Teesta Setalvad-run NGO gave baseless information about the 2002 Gujarat riots to the police.
On Saturday, Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) team detained Setalvad from Mumbai in connection with a case on her NGO and later in the night she was taken to Ahmedabad. The Gujarat ATS team took Teesta Setalvad to the Santacruz police station. The Supreme Court had on Friday, dismissed as ‘devoid of merit’ an appeal by Zakia Jafri in a plea challenging SIT’s clean chit to the then chief minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi and others in cases related to the riots. Zakia Jafri is the widow of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri who was killed in the riots.
Earlier, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Wednesday rebuked the UN Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR) for Human Rights interference against Teesta Setalvad and two other persons as ‘completely unwarranted’. In response to media queries on a comment by OHCHR regarding legal action against Teesta Setalvad, MEA official spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, ‘We have seen a comment by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) regarding legal action against Teesta Setalvad and two other persons. The remarks by OHCHR are completely unwarranted and constitute an interference in India’s independent judicial system’.
The OHCHR earlier had voiced concern over the arrest and detention of Setalvad and called for her immediate release. ‘Authorities in India act against violations of law strictly in accordance with established judicial processes. Labelling such legal actions as persecution for activism is misleading and unacceptable’, said Bagchi. Earlier on Sunday, the Gujarat government decided to form a Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by the state’s Anti-Terrorism Squad DIG Deepan Bhadran to investigate the role of Setalvad, Sreekumar and former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt in connection with the 2002 Gujarat riots.