Gujarat Riots: SC Grants Interim Bail to Teesta Setalvad
NEW DELHI, (IANS) – A day after expressing concern at the delay by Gujarat High Court in hearing activist Teesta Setalvad’s bail plea, the Supreme Court on September 2 granted her interim bail.
Setalvad was arrested for allegedly fabricating documents to frame high-ranking officials, including then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, in the 2002 riots cases in the state, and has been in custody since June 25.
A bench, headed by Chief Justice U.U. Lalit and comprising Justices S. Ravindra Bhat and Sudhanshu Dhulia, said that since the essential custodial interrogation is complete, the matter of interim bail should have been heard, and noted that her bail plea is still pending before the Gujarat High Court.
It also directed Setalvad to surrender her passport in the trial court and made it clear that the high court will decide her regular bail plea without being influenced by its order.
During the hearing, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Setalvad, submitted that authorities concerned are deeply interested that his client never comes out on bail. “I am the state’s number 1 enemy,” said Sibal.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Gujarat government, opposed Sibal’s submissions and argued that Setalvad could influence the witnesses in the case.
At this, Sibal replied: “How can she be more powerful than the state…” and emphasized that facts narrated in the FIR against his client are nothing but a repetition of proceedings which ended with the apex court’s judgment on June 24, and the no offense was made out against her.
Mehta urged the apex court not to set a “very bad precedent” by giving extraordinary treatment to Setalvad.