HC notice to Teesta Setalvad on Gujarat plea for pre-arrest bail cancellation

The Gujarat High Court today issued a fresh notice to social activist Teesta Setalvad on a plea of the Gujarat government to cancel her anticipatory bail in connection with a 2011 offence pertaining to alleged fabrication of evidence in the 2002 Naroda Gam riot case.

Justice J B Pardiwala issued the notice as the one issued last week could not be served to Setalvad due to some technical reason.

The state government last week moved the high court after the Supreme Court on December 6 disposed of Setalvad’s appeal challenging the decision of the HC upholding a magisterial court order for a probe against her former close aide, Rais Khan Pathan.

While issuing the notice last week, judge Pardiwala observed that “since the proceedings have been concluded by the Supreme Court, the matter is now ripe for hearing”.

In August 2011, a city sessions court granted pre-arrest bail to Setalvad in connection with the alleged offence of fabricating evidence and filing false affidavits on behalf of the victims of the 2002 Naroda Gam riot.

Setalvad had filed for anticipatory bail after her former aide Pathan claimed before a special court that victims of the Naroda Gam riot were made to sign false affidavits.

On the basis of Pathan’s submissions, the special court ordered filing of an FIR against him in a magisterial court.

Accordingly, the court registrar filed a complaint against Pathan and others in Ahmedabad metropolitan magistrate court, which on January 10, 2011 directed an assistant commissioner of police to investigate the matter and submit a report.

Setalvad moved the high court against the magisterial court’s directions for a police probe. However, the high court in July 2011 declined to interfere in police investigation.

Setalvad then applied for pre-arrest bail in a sessions court in August 2011.

A month after she was granted anticipatory bail, the state government approached the high court against the sessions court’s order.

Setalvad and her NGO, Citizen for Justice and Peace (CJP), then moved the apex court against the high court decision upholding the order of the magisterial court for a probe against Pathan and others.

At that time, the high court had postponed the hearing till the “final outcome of the Supreme Court proceedings”.

Now, as the Supreme Court disposed of Setalvad’s plea, the state government re-opened the case and sought cancellation of her bail.

The trial in the Naroda Gam case is at the final stage.

Eleven people belonging to a minority community were killed in Naroda Gam during the 2002 riots, during a bandh called to protest the Godhra train burning incident.

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