Activist Teesta Setalvad walks out of jail

Teesta Setalvad
A screengrab of Teesta Setalvad walking out of the Sabarmati Central Jail in Ahmedabad on Saturday evening.

Ahmedabad: Activist Teesta Setalvad on Saturday walked out of jail, a day after the Supreme Court granted her interim bail in a case of allegedly fabricating evidence to frame innocent people in connection with the 2002 Gujarat riots.

Setalvad, arrested on June 26, was released from the Sabarmati Central Jail here. As per the Supreme Court's order, she was produced before sessions judge V A Rana for bail formalities.

The sessions court asked her to furnish a personal bond of Rs 25,000 and not to leave India without its permission, special public prosecutor Amit Patel said.

In its Friday order, the apex court had said Setalvad shall be produced before the lower court which will release her on interim bail subject to such conditions as it may deem fit. The top court had on Thursday wanted to know the reason for the delayed listing of Setalvad's bail plea by the Gujarat High Court, wondering whether "this lady has been made an exception".

Setalvad and co-accused and former Director General of Police R B Sreekumar were taken into custody by Gujarat police on June 25 and a court sent them in judicial custody on July 2 after their police remand ended.

The Ahmedabad crime branch registered a First Information Report against Setalvad, Sreekumar and jailed former IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt a day after the Supreme Court dismissed a petition challenging the clean chit given by a special investigation team to then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and others in the 2002 post-Godhra riots cases.

Setalvad, Sreekumar and Bhatt were accused of abusing the process of law by conspiring to fabricate evidence and frame innocent people for an offence punishable with capital punishment.

While dismissing the petition filed by Zakia Jafri whose husband and former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri was killed during the riots, the SC had observed that "it appears to us that a coalesced effort of the disgruntled officials of the State of Gujarat along with others was to create sensation by making revelations which were false to their own knowledge."

All those involved in such abuse of process "need to be in the dock and proceed in accordance with law," the supreme court had said.

Setalvad and other two were subsequently booked under Indian Penal Code sections 468, 471 (forgery), 194 (giving or fabricating false evidence with intent to procure conviction of capital offence), 211 (institute criminal proceedings to cause injury), 218 (public servant framing incorrect record or writing with intent to save person from punishment or property from forfeiture), and 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy).

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