File complaint against former aide of Teesta Setalvad: Court

Ahmedabad: A special court hearing the 2002 Naroda Gam riot case on Friday ordered that a criminal complaint be registered against Rais Khan, a former aide of social activist Teesta Setalvad, for fabricating evidence.

Designated judge S H Vohra also rejected Khan's application to become a court witness in the post-Godhra case at Naroda Gam here, where 11 people of the minority community were killed during riots on February 28, 2002.

According to special public prosecutor Ajay Choksi, the court agreed to his contentions that Khan was involved in making false affidavits in the name of riot victims.

Khan has admitted that he had acted on somebody's orders in preparing false affidavits, he said.

The court ordered the Registrar of the Sessions and Civil Court here to file an offence against Khan and others under Sections 193 to 200 (all pertaining to fabrication of evidence and making false statements) of IPC.

Choksi, representing the prosecution agency Special Investigation Team (SIT), last month had opposed Khan's application of becoming a court witness.

He argued that Khan had approached the court with an intention of helping some of the accused in the case, who have not opposed his plea. Choksi had also questioned Khan's silence on the matter since the trial in the case began a year ago.

On the other hand, Khan had contended that he could throw light on some aspects of the case.

Khan had further said he should be allowed to give his version as some of the witnesses in the case have alleged that he had manipulated their affidavits.

After the riots, Khan had worked as coordinator with Centre for Justice and Peace (CJP), the NGO headed by Setalvad, from February 28, 2002 to January 18, 2008.

Khan, in his application, had stated that he was merely an employee of CJP and his job was to get instructions regularly from Setalvad over phone and e-mails, contact riot victims or witnesses in various parts of Gujarat and to pursue them to join hands with the NGO to file cases in the courts.

He denied manipulating affidavits as alleged by some of the witnesses and further said his duty as CJP coordinator was limited to managing affidavits and handing them over to Setalvad or her advocate.

Khan said he used to get fully prepared affidavits in English on his e-mail from Setalvad which he got notarised from the witnesses or victims concerned and handed them over to her or advocate of CJP.

A similar application by Khan was filed in the Gulburg society riot case, where the judge had ordered SIT to record Khan's statement and probe it.