The Gujarat government on Wednesday alleged before the Supreme Court that activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand had embezzled funds meant for the 2002 riots victims for “wine and luxury” and accused the couple of not cooperating in the investigation and tampering with evidence in the case.
In an affidavit filed before the apex court, the state government said, “Teesta Setalvad and her husband misappropriated funds of charity for personal nature like wine and luxury.” Last week, days after it registered a case against her, the CBI had searched four premises of the social activist and her publishing firm in Mumbai in connection with a case of alleged violation of FCRA norms and receiving foreign funds without government sanction.
The CBI teams searched the premises belonging to Setalvad, her husband Javed Anand, Gulam Mohammed Peshimam and the offices of her firm Sabrang Communications and Publishing Pvt Ltd (SCPPL) in Mumbai. Anand, Setalvad and Mohammed are directors of SCPPL, based in Santa Cruz in Mumbai.
On July 8, the CBI had registered a case against them in New Delhi, invoking various sections of the Indian Penal Code and Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). The CBI alleged that they received foreign contribution of $290,000 from the US-based Ford Foundation without registration and prior permission of the union home ministry as stipulated by the FCRA.
Some time ago, the government directed the CBI to probe the funds transfer as it was violative of the FCRA norms. The Gujarat government had also asked the Union Home Department to initiate action against the Ford Foundation, accusing it of interfering in the country’s internal affairs and abetting communal disharmony through Setalvad’s organisation.
Reacting to the raids, Setalvad had expressed surprise over the CBI action, particularly since she has been fully cooperating with the agency in the matter. “It is shameless vendetta,” she had said.