Social activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband “siphoned off” Rs 3.85 crore for “personal use” from the Rs 9.75 crore donations received by their NGOs for the welfare of the 2002 riot victims, claimed Gujarat Police before the Supreme Court. According to a TOI report, Assistant Commissioner of Police Rahul B Patel detailed in an 83-page affidavit how Setalvad, Anand and their trusts Centre for Justice and Peace (CJP) and Sabrang refrained from providing documents needed for investigating the complaints by riot victims at Gulbarg Society that the couple failed to deliver the promises. Earlier Gujarat High Court had rejected the anticipatory bail plea of the activists, the apex court restrained police from arresting them but asked the couple to provide details for the investigation. Along with SC, both of them had moved to NHRC complaining that the Gujarat police’s move was a sinister campaign to malign the couples’ image.
Gujarat police had informed the top court that they had gone through the accounts of CJP, Sabrang, Setalvad and Anand from 2007 till 2014. It claimed that the couple received total foreign and domestic donations of Rs 9.75 crore during this time and had used Rs 3.85 crore for personal matters. The police said the two accounts opened by the couple in United Bank of India, Mumbai on 2001, had no deposits until December 2002.
It alleged that the couple had concealed from SC and high courts that “after seizure of the accounts by police, they opened two separate accounts of Sabrang Trust, namely Sabrang Trust General account and Sabrang Trust HRD account in another bank”. “Prior to 2007, there was negligible receipt in the accounts of CJP and Sabrang Trust. It is only after the applicant-accused, through their websites, newsletters, interviews, CDs etc expressed an urgent need for funds to save and rehabilitate riot victims and set up a ‘Museum of Resistance’ that donations from all over the world started pouring into these accounts,” the police accused.
Setalvad made headlines by highlighting the plight of 2002 riot victims and made the SC form a special investigation team to probe nine brutal incidents of rioting.