Anticipatory bail to Teesta in fake affidavit case

Ahmedabad: A sessions court on Tuesday granted anticipatory bail to social activist Teesta Setalvad in connection with a case pertaining to filing false affidavits in the name of post-Godhra riot victims.

Additional sessions judge SB Gajre, while granting bail, ordered Setalvad to deposit her passport with the court within three days and also asked her to produce a personal bond of Rs 25,000.

The court also asked her to remain present before the investigation officer of the case whenever asked to.

Setalvad had sought anticipatory bail following the allegations of filing false affidavits on behalf of the victims of the Naroda Gam riot case of 2002.

The allegations were made by her former aide Rais Khan.

Eleven persons of a minority community were killed by a mob following the Godhra train carnage on February 28, 2002 at Naroda Gam area here.

The court, while providing relief to Setalvad, observed that being a human rights activist of international repute, Setalvad is unlikely to run away from the probe.

It further observed that the evidence in the case was the affidavits which were already on record of the court and hence cannot be tampered as contended by the Gujarat government while opposing Setalvad's bail.

Considering the assurance given by Setalvad for cooperating with the probe agency, the court granted her anticipatory bail, Setalvad's lawyer SM Vora said.

Setalvad's former aide Rais Khan has maintained that false affidavits in the name of 2002 riot victims against the accused of the Naroda Gam case, had been filed in a sessions court at the behest of the activist.

Setalvad, according to Khan, used to send readymade affidavits to him on email.

Khan had further alleged that he used to get the false affidavits signed by the victims who were witnesses for Setalvad, who headed NGO Center for Justice and Peace.

During the hearing, Setalvad had contended that she was being targeted by the Gujarat government because of a petition she had jointly filed with Zakia Jaffery, wife of slain ex-MP Ehsan Jaffery, in the Supreme Court.

Ehsan Jaffery was killed during the 2002 riots in Gulburg Society along with 69 others.

The state government, while opposing Setalvad's bail plea, had contended that she would hamper the probe, influence witnesses with her clout or money if released on bail.

Setalvad moved for anticipatory bail after the Gujarat High Court last month gave a go ahead for a probe against Khan, accused of fabricating evidence, while rejecting his plea challenging the FIR filed against him.

The FIR was lodged against Khan in December 2010 following orders of Justice SH Vohra while hearing the 2002 Naroda Gam case.