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HindustanTimes Sat,01 Nov 2014

Gulbarg Society fund embezzlement case: No bail for Teesta, hubby

PTI  Ahmedabad, March 25, 2014
First Published: 18:52 IST(25/3/2014) | Last Updated: 18:56 IST(25/3/2014)

Social activist Teesta Setalwad, her husband Javed Anand and son of slain Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, Tanvir were on Tuesday denied anticipatory bail by a local court in the Gulbarg Society fund embezzlement case.

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Ahmedabad city sessions court judge H C Vora also rejected anticipatory bail plea of two others who were members of the Gulbarg Society association.

The court observed in its order that prima facie documentary evidence exists against the accused persons. "There is a prima facie documentary evidence against
the accused persons which needs a thorough investigation," the judge said in the order.

The prosecution had earlier argued that Setalwad and others have usurped funds meant for riot victims and collected donations from India and abroad in the name of making a museum at the Gulburg Society, but later they used those funds for other purposes.

Former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri was among 68 people massacred during the Gulbarg Society riots in 2002.

The court accepted the prosecution's arguments as facts, sayin,g "Police investigation is needed to be conducted in the presence of the accused." "The court prima facie believes that the fund collected for the riot survivor victims was not used for them," the court said.

"The fund was used for the other purpose by using different credit cards and the donation amount was not even used for making a mausoleum," the order said.
 
On the issue of suppression of facts as alleged by the prosecution, the judge observed, "The applicants (Setalwad) and others had suppressed the facts in the Supreme Court on February 24 when they already had filed an anticipatory bail plea in sessions court on February 21, they did not put that factual detail there in apex court."  

Setalwad's counsel said she will approach the high court against the order.

The court also rejected applicant's argument that a resolution was passed unanimously by the Gulbarg Society residents to build a mausoleum.

"The applicants have made such an impression that a resolution was passed unanimously to build the mausoleum, but facts are different," the order said.

Meanwhile, Setalwad's counsel said, "We will certainly approach the high court very soon." Setalwad, her husband Javed Anand, Tanvir Jafri, Gulbarg Society's secretary Feroz Gulzar and its Chairman Salim Sandhi had filed anticipatory bail plea before the city sessions court on February 21 after the crime branch registered an FIR against Setalwad and others for allegedly usurping Rs. 1.51 crore collected by them for turning Gulbarg Society into a mausoleum.

Special Public Prosecutor Ajay Choksi has alleged that Setalwad used foreign funds for personal use. "Lakhs of rupees from the funds were deducted from her
NGOs' accounts for personal use," Choksi argued.

He alleged that Setalwad's NGOs had negligible funds in 2007 but after they made the announcement for the museum these accounts flourished with crores of rupees.

Countering the arguments, Setalwad had said, "The prosecution agency went beyond its scope of investigation as it is charity commissioner's duty to look into it."  
Twelve residents of Gulbarg society had demanded Rs. 1.51 crore from Setalwad last year alleging that money collected in their name was never distributed.


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