Gujarat HC allows bail to rights activists Teesta, husband in embezzlement case

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Ahmedabad, Feb 8 : The Gujarat High Court on Friday granted anticipatory bail to Mumbai-based human rights activists Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand in a case of embezzlement of Central government funds.

Allowing the bail application, Justice J.B. Pardiwala strongly stated, “I am giving the applicants (Setalvad and Anand) last chance despite all odds. I reserve the right of the state to summon them whenever required. And, the state can seek remand if custodial interrogation is required.”

He ordered them to remain present before the Ahmedabad Detection of Crime Branch (DCB), which is looking into the case, on February 11.

The court granted the request by the defendants’ lawyer Mihir Thakor that the couple would present themselves on February 15 since they had pressing family matters to look after.

According to the FIR lodged by Setalvad’s former close associate, Raees Khan Pathan, the NGO, Sabrang Trust, that Setalvad and Javed Anand run, had received Rs 1.4 crore fund from the Union Ministry of Human Resources Development for the trust’s ‘Khoj project’ for education.

It was alleged that the grant, which was received under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan on the union ministry was transferred to the personal bank accounts of the activists and was used for personal and political purposes as well as on paying witnesses in 2002 riots cases to make false depositions.

The couple has maintained that the Khoj project was launched in 2010 and wrapped up before January 2014 when the bank accounts were frozen due to another fabricated case against them.

They had approached the high court after their March 2018 anticipatory bail application was rejected by a special sessions court.