NEW DELHI: A day after the Gujarat High Court rejected social activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband’s plea for anticipatory bail, the Supreme Court on Friday granted protection from arrest to the couple for another six days in a case of alleged embezzlement of funds for a museum at Ahmedabad’s Gulbarg Society that was devastated in the 2002 Godhra riots.
The court said it would independently examine, on the basis of the FIR filed, whether it was a case fit for granting anticipatory bail or not.
“We are not going to quash the FIR,” a Bench of Justice S J Mukhopadhaya and Justice N V Ramana said. Senior counsel Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Setalvads, said, “We are pleading only for anticipatory bail and all documents would be submitted to satisfy that it is not the case of custodial interrogation.”
When Sibal argued against the High Court judgment and accused the state government of settling personal scores against the social activist, the Bench enquired, “Isn’t it a case of several crore rupees used for personal purpose in the name of religion?” To this, the counsel said even if it were the case,
there was no complaint from the donors. The Bench then observed that the allegations were grave and a matter of investigation and victims’ FIR could not be dealt with lightly. Sibal said Setalvads were ready to face a probe but the court could not proceed without providing them protection as the might of the state was looming large.
The apex court has fixed the matter for hearing on February 19, asking the parties to place before it the Gujarat High Court judgment and other additional documents.