SC notice to Gujarat govt over de-freezing Teesta Setalvad’s accounts

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 18, 2016 01:31 IST
Activist Teesta Setalvad speaks during an interview at her lawyer's office in Mumbai. (AFP File Photo)

The Supreme Court issued a notice on Wednesday to Gujarat government on Teesta Setalvad’s petition for de-freezing the bank accounts of the social activist, her husband and NGOs – Sabrang Trust and Citizens for Justice and Peace.

A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra gave the order after additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta, appearing for Gujarat, said the state would contest Setalvad’s petition. Mehta agreed to file a response within two weeks after which the bench fixed September 21 for hearing the case further.

Gujarat police froze the bank accounts in 2014 soon after it began probing an alleged embezzlement case against the activist. Teesta was accused of collecting Rs 1.51 crore from national and international donors, promising to set up a riots museum in Gulbarg society. However, the police alleged, she used the money for personal use.

Setalvad’s advocate, senior counsel Kapil Sibal contended that even the bank accounts of Citizens for Justice and Peace were frozen from January 2014 though the NGO had nothing to do with the receipt of foreign funds, which were received by Sabrang Trust. He alleged the personal accounts of the petitioner and her husband Javed Anand, were frozen without any reason.

Setalvad has challenged the Gujarat high court order upholding a metropolitan court’s decision, rejecting the activist and her husband’s plea to de-freeze the bank accounts. The HC held it might affect the investigation of the case. The lower court in its order had also noted that the “accused did not cooperate with the investigation of the case”.

The probe against Setlavad began after the police received complaint from one of the residents of Gulbarg Society, Firoz Khan Pathan. He claimed Setalvad had raised the money to make a museum at the society in memory of those who were killed during the 2002 Gujarat riots but it had not been utilized for the purpose.

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