SC reaffirms its order granting pre-arrest bail to Teesta and husband | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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SC reaffirms its order granting pre-arrest bail to Teesta and husband

ByAbraham Thomas
Nov 02, 2023 01:31 AM IST

The bench passed order while hearing a petition filed by activist and her husband against Gujarat high court’s refusal to grant them bail on February 12, 2015

The Supreme Court on Wednesday made absolute its earlier order granting protection from arrest to activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband, Javed Anand, in a case pertaining to alleged embezzlement of funds raised to help victims of the 2002 Gujarat riots.

Social activist Teesta Setalvad gets bail in 2002 Gujarat communal riots case. (HT Photo)
Social activist Teesta Setalvad gets bail in 2002 Gujarat communal riots case. (HT Photo)

“Protection (from arrest) granted by this Court on February 12, 2015 will continue to enure to the benefit of appellants,” a bench headed by justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul said.

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The bench passed the order while hearing a petition filed by the activist and her husband against the Gujarat high court’s refusal to grant them bail on February 12, 2015. Hours after the high court’s order that day, the top court had granted the couple protection from arrest that has continued till date. By a separate order in March 2015, it referred the matter to a three-judge bench.

In January 2014, the Gujarat government had registered the case against the couple under sections 406 (criminal breach of trust), 468 (forgery) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of Indian Penal Code and other provisions of the Information Technology Act.

On Wednesday, as the matter was taken up after considerable delay, the bench, also comprising justices Sudhanshu Dhulia and PK Mishra, asked the state, “We are talking about something that took place eight to nine years ago. What survives in this matter?”

Appearing for the state, additional solicitor general SV Raju said the case filed in 2014 against the couple isn’t an isolated one as the government filed a subsequent criminal case against them in 2018. The couple was granted anticipatory bail from the high court in 2019 (in 2018 case) and are not cooperating with the probe, Raju said.

The couple was represented by senior advocate Kapil Sibal and advocate Aparna Bhat, who informed the court that they were cooperating and even appeared before the police multiple times.

In the 2014 case, no charge sheet has been filed so far, although the bank accounts of the appellants and their NGO, Sabrang Trust, which collected the funds, has been frozen, Sibal said. The couple were last contacted by the investigating officer in 2015, he added.

The top court directed the appellants to cooperate in the probe, and closed proceedings filed by the state against the bail granted to them in the 2014 and 2018 FIRs.

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