The Gujarat Special Investigation Team (SIT) has filed a chargesheet against human rights activist Teesta Setalvad, retired DGP R B Sreekumar and dismissed IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt in connection with a false evidence case linked to the 2002 Gujarat riots. According to The Indian Express, the chargesheet was filed by the SIT at an Ahmedabad court on Tuesday.
Setalvad was released from the Sabarmati Women’s Jail on September 2 after she spent seven days in police custody and 63 days in judicial remand. Granting her interim bail, the bench-led by CJI UU Lalit pulled up the state of Gujarat for failing to provide a chargesheet two months after her arrest. The top court also came down heavily on the Gujarat police for failing to show anything substantial in the complaint, other than the SC observations in the Zakia Jafri ruling, based on which Setalvad was arrested.
On the other hand, Sreekumar is still in prison following his arrest on June 25 along with Setalvad, day after the Supreme Court judgement in the Zakia Jafri’s petition challenging the SIT probe findings in the Gujarat riots. Sreekumar has moved the Gujarat High court seeking bail. His case is listed for September 28. Bhatt is already serving life in prison over a 1990 custodial death case.
In the chargesheet filed, several stringent provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) including Sections 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 468 (forgery), 471 (using as genuine a forged document or electronic record), 194 (giving or fabricating false evidence with intent to procure conviction of capital offence, 211 (false charge of offence made with intent to injure) and 218 (public servant framing incorrect record or writing with intent to save person from punishment or property from forfeiture), have been slapped against Sreekumar, Setalvad and Bhatt.
According to The Indian Express, the Crime Branch FIR against the trio has been filed on the same charges that the Supreme Court had based its verdict on while upholding the clean chit to then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi, his council of ministers and bureaucrats for their alleged role in the 2002 riots.