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SC extends stay on arrest of Teesta Setalvad till Feb 19

SC extends stay on arrest of Teesta Setalvad till Feb 19
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A bench headed by Justice SJ Mukhopadhaya gave time to Teesta’s counsel - former union minister and lawyer Kapil Sibal to file additional documents as he sought time to counter the allegations of cheating, misappropriation and breach of trust.

The bench clarified it to Sibal that he would have to explain the allegations since the court would hear him only on the aspect of anticipatory bail and would not treat it as an appeal to quash the FIR.
The bench asked Sibal not to give it a “political dimension” after the senior lawyer claimed that Teesta and her husband were being hounded for taking up fight against a state (Gujarat) ruled by the BJP.

On Thursday, the apex court had stayed Setalvad and her husband’s arrest by a bench headed by Chief Justice of India, H.L. Dattu. He passed the order after Sibal argued that the “mighty” Gujarat police is hell bent on arresting her.

Dattu’s directive came hours after the Gujarat High Court rejected the anticipatory bail petitions filed by Setalvad, her husband Javed Anand, Tanvir Jafri (son of Ehsan Jafri, former Congress MP who was killed during the 2002 Gujarat riots) and Firoz Gulzar, a resident of Gulberg Society here, in the case.

A team of police reached at Teesta’s house in Mumbai after the Gujarat High Court turned down her anticipatory bail plea. They are accused of misusing funds to the tune of Rs 1.51 crore meant for the families of Gulberg Society riot victims in 2002. There was a plan to build a museum for their memory, which was cancelled later.

Senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani, who appeared for the prosecution, had put forward statements of Setalvad’s former accountant Rais Khan who claimed that she along with others misused the funds.

On January 2014, the crime branch had registered a first information report against her and others for allegedly usurping the money. Twelve residents of the Society had alleged that Setalvad embezzled the funds and lodged complaint.

Then, 69 people, including Ehsan Jafri, were killed in a mob’s attack on the society on February 28, 2002, following the Godhra train burning incident. Meanwhile, she has denied any misuse of funds and alleged that move against her is politically motivated.
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