The Supreme Court Wednesday issued notice to activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand on CBI’s plea for cancellation of their bail in a Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) violation case. The CBI wanted the couple’s custodial interrogation in the case.
The probe agency has challenged a Bombay High Court order granting anticipatory bail to the couple in the case. The agency alleged that the couple’s NGOs - Sabrang Trust and Citizens for Justice and Peace - received foreign funds without government approval and the amount was diverted to Sabrang Communications and Publishing Pvt Ltd.
The CBI claimed questioning of Teesta and Javed after their release on bail would not yield much result. It argued such an interrogation would not be successful because the suspected person knows that s/he is well protected and insulated by a pre-arrest bail order. Questioning in such cases often reduces to a mere ritual, the CBI stated.
The notice was issued by a three-judge special bench headed by Justice AR Dave which also extended its interim protection from arrest given to the activist couple in a case registered by Gujarat Police against them for alleged misappropriation of her NGO’s funds.
The protection shall continue till December 6. It fixed December 1 to hear Setalvad’s plea for bail in the case registered against her by the Gujarat police, the bench said.
A two-judge bench headed by Justice Dave had on October 12 declined to extend Setalvad and Anand’s protection that ended Wednesday. It observed the September 11 order by him, which restrained the Gujarat police from arresting them, was an error since the case had been referred to a larger bench.
Setalvad and her husband have challenged the Gujarat High Court order denying them anticipatory bail. On April 16, the SC had stayed the HC order and directed a three-judge bench to hear afresh the anticipatory bail plea of Setalvad who alongwith with her husband allegedly embezzled funds meant for constructing a museum in the memory of 2002 Gujarat riot victims.