In a recent development, Mumbai-based activist Teesta Setalvad's regular bail application was denied by the Gujarat High Court. The court directed Setalvad to surrender promptly, as the case revolves around the alleged fabrication of evidence in the post-Godhra riots of 2002.
Justice Nirzar Desai, presiding over the bench, upheld the court's previous decision to reject Setalvad's bail plea and ordered her immediate surrender. In response, Senior Counsel Mihir Thakore requested a 30-day stay on implementing the verdict.
Setalvad had enjoyed interim bail granted by the Supreme Court in September of last year, which shielded her from arrest. Consequently, she was released from judicial custody in the ongoing case. Setalvad faces charges related to promoting a wider conspiracy behind the 2002 riots and allegedly attempting to frame Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other individuals.
During the hearing in the high court on June 15, the state's prosecution strongly opposed Setalvad's request for regular bail, emphasizing that the charges against her revolve around the alleged fabrication of false evidence.
According to the prosecution, Setalvad had received Rs.30 lakh from the late Congress leader Ahmed Patel with the aim of destabilizing the Gujarat government led by Narendra Modi after the 2002 riots. During the court proceedings, the state government referred to Setalvad as a "tool" of a politician tasked with defaming Gujarat.
Setalvad and her co-accused, former IPS officer R.B. Sreekumar, were arrested by the Gujarat Police on June 25 last year based on a First Information Report (FIR) filed by the Ahmedabad Detection of Crime Branch (DCB). The FIR alleged a conspiracy to falsely implicate innocent individuals in connection with the 2002 Gujarat riots.
Following a seven-day police remand, Setalvad was placed in judicial custody on July 2. Her arrest came a day after the Supreme Court dismissed Zakia Jafri's plea challenging the Special Investigation Team's (SIT) clean chit to then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and others regarding the conspiracy allegations in the riots.