The Supreme Court would next month take up pleas filed by social activist Teesta Setalvad and her two controversial NGOs, challenging the freezing of their accounts by the Ahmedabad Police, for final disposal.
A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and R Banumathi said it would commence the final hearing on the pleas on February 21.
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Gujarat government, and senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand, agreed for the date suggested by the bench.
During the last hearing, Gujarat government had sought to file reply to the petition. The bench was today informed that it had already filed an affidavit in this regard.
Teesta, her husband and the two NGOs — Sabrang Trust and Citizens for Justice and Peace — have approached the apex court challenging the October 7, 2015, verdict of the Gujarat High Court which had rejected their pleas for defreezing their personal bank accounts.
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One of the residents of Gulberg Society, Firoz Khan Pathan, had filed a complaint against Setalvad and others alleging that money was raised to make a museum at Gulberg Society in the memory of those killed during the 2002 Gujarat riots, but it had not been utilised for the purpose.
The action of the Ahmedabad Police had come soon after its Crime Branch had started probing a case in which Setalvad and others were accused of embezzling Rs 1.51 crore collected to convert Gulberg Society — where 69 people were killed during the post-Godhra riots — into a 2002 riots museum.
The high court had upheld the verdict of a lower court in this regard observing that the probe was at a serious point.
In their plea before the apex court, the petitioners have alleged that their accounts were “illegally freezed” without following the due process of law.
“The accounts of the petitioner have been frozen by the respondents without any prior notice and this act of freezing her personal accounts is not pursuant to the discovery of any offence but is in terms of a fishing expedition as an attempt to find out if any offence has been committed,” it has said.
The pleas have claimed there was no nexus between the alleged offence and their accounts which have been frozen.
“The freezing of the accounts of the petitioner has led to personal hardship and humiliation. It is also a violation of the fundamental rights of life, association and assembly.
“The aim of the respondents was and is to humiliate and defame the petitioner in every way possible as also to financially cripple the Trusts and even block her personal finances so that legitimate activities come to a standstill,” it alleged.
In the embezzlement case lodged by the Gujarat Police, the couple had challenged cancellation of bail in the apex court, while in the alleged FCRA violation case, CBI has challenged the anticipatory bail granted to them by Bombay High Court.
Both the matters are pending before a three-judge bench of the apex court.
Gujarat Police has filed an affidavit in the apex court alleging that the funds collected by them for setting up of museum in memory of the riots victims of Gulberg Society was spent on personal use.