Home / News / India /  Gujarat 2002 riots: What led to activist Teesta Setalvad's arrest now? Read here
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The Ahmedabad crime branch on Sunday arrested activist Teesta Setalvad, a day after she was detained in Mumbai and shifted to Gujarat. 

The arrest came in connection with a fresh case of forgery, criminal conspiracy and insulting criminal proceedings to cause injury, according to officials.

A day earlier, the crime branch had arrested former Gujarat DGP Sreekumar and is in the process of getting a transfer warrant for ex-IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's custody in connection with the FIR lodged against them, said DCP (crime), Chaitanya Mandlik.

He said the crime branch will collect documents submitted by Setalvad, Sreekumar and Bhatt to the Commission of Inquiry, the Special Investigation Team (SIT), and courts regarding the 2002 communal riots cases as part of the investigation.

Why has Setalvad been arrested now?

The Ahmedabad crime branch registered an FIR against Setalvad, Sreekumar, and Bhatt on Saturday, a day after the Supreme Supreme Court dismissed a petition challenging the clean chit given by the SIT to the then chief minister Narendra Modi and others in 2002 post-Godhra riots cases.

Setalvad, who is the secretary of NGO Citizens for Justice and Peace, is also accused of conspiring to fabricate facts and documents, tutor witnesses and abuse the process of law by fabricating false evidence to frame people, on the basis of submissions made before the SIT formed by the Supreme Court to investigate the 2002 Gujarat riots cases and before the Justice Nanavati-Shah Commission of Inquiry.

The activist and her NGO were co-petitioners with Zakia Jafri, wife of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri who was killed during riots, in the petition filed against PM Modi and others in the Supreme Court.

What did the SC say?

A three-judge bench of the apex court headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar, upholding the Special Investigation Team or SIT's 2012 clean chit to PM Modi in the Gujarat riots case, said that Setalvad, co-petitioner in the case, exploited the emotions of Zakia Jafri.

"All those involved in such abuse of process need to be in the dock and proceeded with in accordance with law," the judges said, adding that the appeal was filed under "dictation of someone."

"Antecedents of Teesta Setalvad need to be reckoned with and also because she has been vindictively persecuting this lis [dispute] for her ulterior design by exploiting the emotions and sentiments of Zakia Jafri, the real victim of the circumstances," the top court said in its order.

How has Setalvad reacted?

Setalvad has alleged that her arrest was illegal and she was driven from Mumbai to Ahmedabad in a car to intimidate a "human rights lawyer".

She called her arrest an "abuse of power" alleging that she was not allowed to speak to her lawyer.

"The ATS barged into my house without any warrant, snatched my phone and pushed me. Look at this wound they inflicted on me. They brought me to Ahmedabad Crime Branch at 6 am," she said.

"They came in at three and it was only after my lawyer came that they showed me an FIR. Is arresting on the basis of an FIR legal? Why wasn't I served a notice? I was detained illegally from 3 pm to 10.30 am. Why was I driven down in a car by ATS from Mumbai to Gujarat? To intimidate me? To intimidate human rights lawyers is okay? This is an abuse of power. My detention and arrest is illegal," Setalvad alleged.

Alleging "fear for life", she questioned why ATS was sent for arresting her in an alleged forgery case.

"I fear for my life. I have been roughed up, and abused...why should ATS be sent for what is a forgery case? Is this the new norm? I should be given bail. I am a human rights activist. This is a political case. I am cooperating and will cooperate with all legal investigations and queries," Setalvad said.

Arrest hours after Amit Shah's statements

Setalvad's arrest came hours after Union home minister Amit Shah said that her NGO gave baseless information about the Gujarat riots.

"I have read the judgement very carefully. The judgement clearly mentions the name of Teesta Setalvad. The NGO that was run being run by her - I don't remember the name of the NGO- had given baseless information about the riots to the police," Amit Shah was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

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