NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Friday extended its order restraining the Gujarat police from arresting social activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand.
An apex court bench headed by Justice S.J. Mukhopadhya extended the restrain order as it directed the hearing of an appeal by Setalvand and Anand Feb 19.
It asked Setalvad and the Gujarat government to file whatever additional documents they want to before the court.
Setalvad and her husband have been fighting for the victims of the communal carnage which engulfed Gujarat following the Feb 27, 2002 Godhra train burning.
The couple has been accused of misappropriating around Rs.15 million collected through their NGO Sabrang Trust for setting up a museum at the Gulbarga Society in Ahmedabad, where 69 people were killed during the communal conflagration.
The complaint against Setalvad was filed by 12 residents of the society after the plans for the proposed museum were put in cold storage citing various issues.
However, Setalvad, whose bail plea was rejected by a lower court in March 2014, has termed the allegation as "politically motivated".
Earlier Thursday, the Gujarat High Court rejected the anticipatory bail pleas filed by Setalvad, Anand, Tanvir Jafri, son of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri who was killed in the riots, and Firoze Gulzar, a resident of the Gulbarga Society in Ahmedabad.
PTI: One of the riot victims from Gulbarg housing society, which was burnt during the 2002 post Godhra riots, had lodged a complaint with the Ahmedabad Police against Setalvad, Anand and two NGOs run by them - Citizens for Justice and Peace and Sabrang Trust, alleging misappropriation of funds to the tune of Rs 1.51 crore.
According to the complaint, the accused persons had collected funds in the name of converting part of the Gulbarg society into a museum and had allegedly misappropriated funds worth Rs 1.51 crores.
The accused had contended that they have been implicated in the case and were victims of political vendetta. They claimed that they were being targeted by the perpetrators of the riots.
In 2006, the social activists decided to build the 'Museum of Resistance' at the site of the Gulbarg society. Accordingly in 2009, a part of the plot was sold to Sabrang Trust.
However in 2012, the idea of the museum was dropped as the prices escalated. The same was communicated to the society.
But, according to the complaint filed against Setalvad, funds were collected by her despite the idea being dropped.
Earlier in the day, the Gujarat High Court had turned down the bail applications and paved the way for their possible arrest.
The High Court today also rejected Setalvad's lawyer's prayer for a stay on its order to allow them time to move the Supreme Court.
It maintained that their custodial interrogation was "in public interest" and "in the interest of justice" and said that Setalvad had filed the pre-arrest bail plea just to avoid custodial interrogation.
"The applicant has never cooperated with the probe and whenever she was called for questioning, she insisted that cops ask her everything in writing and also maintained that she had said everything in her affidavits before the sessions court," the High Court said.
The court also said that affidavits by witnesses had brought out several "shocking facts" about the applicant having used the funds collected in the name of riot victims and meant for the poor and needy people for personal and materialistic purposes.