New Delhi: Now that the Gujarat Police has taken Teesta Setalvad into custody, it will be very important to understand what was her role in the matter. How come it took so many years and how did Supreme Court-appointed SIT & Amicus Curiae during UPA meticulously investigate to come to these conclusions.
I begin by quoting the Solicitor General of India.
The learned Solicitor General of India appearing for the State of Gujarat broadly adopted the arguments advanced on behalf of the SIT. In addition, he contended that the allegation regarding a larger conspiracy is being pursued by Ms Teesta Setalvad only out of vengeance, so as to defame the entire State of Gujarat.
The entire case in the complaint was mainly resting upon the official records and affidavits of officials of the State of Gujarat filed before Nanavati- Shah Commission, to take forward allegations of State-sponsored crime and of targeting minorities in the state. Appellant – Zakia Ahsan Jafri was used as a tool to further the said design, who in turn fell prey to the influence exerted by Ms Teesta Setalvad a lent her name as the complainant in the complaint dated 8.6.2006 being the widow of deceased Mr Ehsan Jafri, Member of Parliament.
There is material in the final report suggestive of Ms Setalvad having conjured facts and evidence including fabrication of documents by persons who were to be prospective witnesses of the complainant.
It is not only a case of fabrication of documents, but also of influencing and tutoring the witnesses and making them depose on pre-typed affidavit, as has been noted in the judgment of the High Court dated 11.7.2011 in Criminal Miscellaneous Application No. 1692/201194. That fact came to the fore in the admission given by appellant Zakia Ahsan Jafri during her cross- examination in the Gulberg Society case being CR No. 67/2002.
As a matter of fact, the learned Solicitor General would submit that the SIT should have taken steps to prosecute Ms. Teesta Setalvad for damning the elected representatives, bureaucracy and police administration of the whole State of Gujarat for ulterior purposes. Even in the case of husband of Setalvad, the High Court had strongly deprecated his conduct.
The learned Solicitor General argues that there is no need to have a relook at the opinion of the SIT or case for further investigation as propounded by the appellant. Even in his submission, neither the opinion formed by the SIT after thorough investigation and proper analysis of the entire material collated by it during investigation, is flawed nor the final order of the Magistrate to accept the final report submitted by the SIT and in rejecting the protest petition or that of the High Court in that regard, requires further scrutiny at the hands of this Court under Article 136 of the Constitution of India. He has, therefore, prayed for dismissal of appeal.
But it’s also very important to understand the role Ms Testa Setalvad. So, from Supreme Court order I have tried to collect relevant portions for a common man to understand the whole truth in the matter.
It is submitted that Ms. Teesta Setalvad, for reasons best known to her and out of vengeance, was interested in continuing with her tirade and persecution on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations in the complaint in the name of quest for justice with real purpose to keep the pot boiling and sensationalise and politicize the crime.
Point wise chronology and role of Ms. Testa as quote from Supreme Court verdict is as follows:
1) Zakia Ahsan Jafri, in her evidence recorded on 22.10.2010, accepted that Mr. R.B. Sreekumar was at the relevant time, working with an NGO and Ms. TeestaSetalvad was associated with that organisation.
2) Interestingly, she was none else, but the convener of the Private Citizens Commission headed by former Supreme Court Judges and was in a position to influence appellant – Zakia Ahsan Jafri.
3) The version of Mr. R.B. Sreekumar in the later affidavits commenting about the functioning of the administration, must be viewed in the context of his denial of career opportunities.Mr. R.B. Sreekumar, former IPS officer was posted as Additional Director General of Police, Armed Unit, Gujarat, at the time of riots, who had filed nine affidavits before the Nanavati- Shah Commission. He did not derive any of its contents from personal knowledge/information, which he might have received as occupant of the stated office.
4) Further, he did not make any allegation against the State Government in his initial two affidavits filed before the Commission, but started making allegations from third affidavit dated 9.4.2005, presumably because he was deprived of service benefits having been superseded by his junior – Mr. K.R. Kaushik.
5) Later, he got involved as an accused in the FIR filed by CBI in ISRO spying case, which had been registered under directions of this Court in S. Nambi Narayanan vs. Siby Mathews & Ors.81
6) Zakia Ahsan Jafri in her cross-examination in Gulberg Society case being CR No. 67/2002 as PW-337 had conceded that she knew Ms. Teesta Setalvad for some time and also about having met Mr. R.B. Sreekumar after the incident. She has stated that Mr. R.B. Sreekumar had come to Gulberg Society on 28.2.2002 and upon completion of four years she had met him.
7) She had also stated that Mr. R.B. Sreekumar was presently working with Ms. TeestaSetalvad. She had also admitted in her cross-examination that she had given statement on 22.8.2003 before the Nanavati-Shah Commission and after giving that statement, she had no occasion to read copy of that statement. This was suggestive of the fact that she was tutored by Ms. TeestaSetalvad, but she never disclosed about that, which fact she had to admit in the cross- examination.
8) She had also admitted in her cross-examination that Mr. R.B. Sreekumar was disappointed with the Government. At the same time, she was unable to recall about the enquiry made by the SIT in connection with the affidavit filed by her before the Commission. And that, she had throughout followed the instructions of Ms. TeestaSetalvad.
9) In the final supplementary report filed by the SIT in Gulberg Society case being CR No. 67/2002, it has been clearly noted that nineteen witnesses insisted to take on record their prepared signed statement(s), which according to them, were prepared by Ms. TeestaSetalvad and Advocate – Mr. M.M. Tirmizi and did not show willingness to give their own statement. The statements so presented were stereotyped copies/computerised prepared statements given to them by Ms. TeestaSetalvad and Advocate – Mr. M.M. Tirmizi and they had merely signed such
10) The appellant had the audacity to assert in the protest petition that it is open to her to keep on adding new materials and allegations which the Court is bound to examine to do complete justice, so that she would succeed in her design to keep the pot boiling and politicising the crime. This indeed was being done at the instance of the group of persons in the name of so-called public- spirited persons like Ms. TeestaSetalvad. The protest petition is not a genuine protest petition by any standard.
11) Notably, in the present case, the complainant has verily relied upon the affidavits of officials filed before the Nanavati-Shah Commission referring to revelation of relevant fact by certain persons who themselves had no personal knowledge and their claim regarding presence in the official meeting is falsified on the basis of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Merely because one person claims about the existence of a particular fact, does not give rise to a triable issue unless that version is corroborated by contemporaneous evidence/material and more so when there is substantive evidence to indicate falsity of his claim.
12) The private Commission founded its observations on the basis of disclosure made by some unidentified Minister. When in fact the overwhelming evidence indicated that no cabinet minister was present in the review meeting, which was attended only by high officials presided over by the Chief Minister. Similarly, the presence of Mr. Sanjiv Bhatt stands falsified by the consistent statements given by high officials who were present in the meeting. All this has been thoroughly analysed by the SIT and recorded in the final report.
[Please refer to pages 117, 154, 160, 165, 166, and 170, amongst other scores of references in the 452-pages long Supreme Courtjudgement]