In more trouble for social activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand, the Supreme Court has rejected their pleas against freezing of their bank accounts in a case of alleged misappropriation of funds received by their NGOs for the 2002 Gujarat riot victims. A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice A M Khanwilkar said the pleas stand dismissed. Setalvad, her husband and their two NGOs – Sabrang Trust and Citizens for Justice and Peace – had challenged the October 7, 2015 verdict of the Gujarat High Court rejecting their pleas of defreezing of their personal bank accounts. Earlier on July 5, while reserving the verdict, the top court had questioned the source of money in the bank accounts of Setalvad and others which were frozen by the Ahmedabad Police in 2015 after allegations of misappropriation surfaced.
Reason behind this SC verdict
The Gujarat government had alleged that the activist couple had siphoned the money collected in the name of victims for “personal use” like wining and dining and the activist had claimed that the action against them was “completely malafide”. The state govt had alleged that they had spent the money received in the name of victims in “liquor, movies, food, personal items and Blackberry phones”. The activist couple had countered the charges and said the money spent does not belong to the government and there was no complainant who had said he or she has been cheated.
Complaint against Setalvad
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 69 people killed in the 2002 Gujarat riots, but it had not been utilised for the purpose.
The freezing of the accounts by 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 Gulbarg Society into a 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 the alleged case of Gulbarg society fund embezzlement. Besides the fund embezzlement case against the couple, the Gujarat police had also lodged another case of FCRA violation against them.