New Delhi: Gujarat government on Monday told the
Supreme Court that witnesses statements which supported the
allegation of "fabricating" evidence in a post-Godhra riots
case, purportedly at the behest of activist Teesta Setalvad,
were recorded prior to the stay of proceedings relating to it.
"Those statements were recorded before this court stayed
the order of the Gujarat High Court," the state government
submitted before a bench comprising justices Aftab Alam and
Ranjana Prakash Desai.
Gujarat government counsel Hemantika Wahi was responding
to the Bench`s question as to "how could the affidavit contain
the statements of the witnesses as annexure when this court
by an interim order had stayed the proceedings".
The counsel said investigation was carried out by the
police and statements of witnesses were recorded on the order
of the High Court which was later stayed by the apex court.
After a brief hearing, the bench extended its interim
stay on the proceedings till further order and posted the
matter for final hearing in July this year.
The state government has placed an affidavit and annexed
the statements of seven witnesses who recorded their evidence
between July 22 and 25 last year before a senior police
officer as per the order of a Ahmedabad court in connection
with Naroda Gam case in which Setalvad`s former close aide
Rais Khan Pathan is accused of fabricating the evidence.
Advocate Sanjay Parikh, appearing for Setalvad and her
NGO, Citizen for Justice and Peace (CJP), expressed concern
over the development and said "the situation is same" which
arose in the Best Bakery riot case involving star witness
Zahira Sheikh in which this court had appointed a committee.
The committee had indicted Zahira for "inducements" by
"certain persons" to give "inconsistent" statements.