AHMEDABAD: The lawyer of activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand today told the Gujarat High Court that an FIR registered against the couple for allegedly misappropriating Rs 1.44 crore government fund was "completely false".
Senior counsel Mihir Thakore was making a submission on behalf of Setalvad and Anand in an anticipatory bail plea moved by them in the case.
Justice J B Pardiwala will continue the hearing tomorrow.
Setalvad and Anand had moved the high court after a local court rejected their anticipatory bail plea in the case.
The high court had extended their protection from arrest till June 13.
Earlier, the Supreme Court had granted them protection from arrest till May 31.
In his submission today, Thakore said Setalvad and Anand have been fully cooperating with Ahmedabad crime branch which is investigating the case.
The duo are accused of misappropriating the fund granted to them by the Union HRD Ministry between 2010 and 2013.
Thakore said the crime branch issued notice to Setalvad and Anand on March 30 asking them to appear before it in person on April 1.
The notice was issued after a complaint was lodged by Raees Khan Pathan, a former aid of Setalvad.
The senior counsel further said that his clients appeared in person before the crime branch on April 6 and provided the investigating officer with details of bank accounts as well as literature in question besides the documents regarding the government records for grants.
Thakor maintained that the FIR should not have been lodged in Gujarat as the matter pertains to funds which were meant to be used in Maharashtra for the purpose of education under HRD Ministry's Sarva Siksha Abhiyan.
The sessions court had earlier rejected pre-arrest bail of Setalvad and Anand saying that the conduct of the two does not inspire confidence and that the FIR does not fall in the category of "exceptional case".
Opposing their pre-arrest bail plea in the sessions court, the city crime branch had said the investigation was at a sensitive stage and that the accused duo are capable of influencing evidences against them if not arrested.
According to the crime branch, the Sabrang Trust NGO of Setalvad and Anand misused the money granted by the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development between 2010 and 2013 for educational purposes, for their "personal and political cause".
The crime branch had said that the couple published literature and pamphlets that spread communal hatred.
Setalvad had pitched for funds by misusing her position as a member of the Central Advisory Board of Education of the HRD Ministry, police had said.
The Supreme Court had in April granted a temporary relief to Setalvad and Anand by extending their interim protection from arrest and transit anticipatory bail granted to them by the Bombay High Court from May 2 to May 31.
The apex court had said that Setalvad and Anand would not be arrested till May 31, but before that they would have to approach the competent court in Gujarat which will decide the matter on merits.