Setalvad seeks time to reply to queries, Sreekumar claims innocence during interrogation: Police

A court in Ahmedabad on Sunday remanded Setalvad and former state DGP Sreekumar in police custody till July 2 in a case of allegedly fabricating evidence in the riots in Gujarat in 2002.
Activist Teesta Setalvad (Photo | PTI)
Activist Teesta Setalvad (Photo | PTI)

AHMEDABAD: Social activist Teesta Setalvad and retired IPS officer RB Sreekumar remained mostly tight-lipped during their interrogation and refused to reveal anything about their alleged role in fabricating evidence as claimed in an FIR registered against them by the Gujarat police with regards to the 2002 riots in the state, said an official on Monday.

While Setalvad has sought time to answer questions posed to her by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Gujarat police that is handling the case, Sreekumar told investigators he has done nothing wrong, said the senior police official.

"Both are not revealing much during interrogation. Setalvad, when she was grilled yesterday, only said she needs more time to answer the questions. She also kept saying that whatever she wants to say, will say only before the court," said the official who is helping the SIT in its probe.

"We grilled Sreekumar for four hours today. But, he kept saying that whatever he did was as per the law and he did nothing wrong. Since our case is largely based on documentary evidence, our probe will not be hampered even if the accused do not cooperate," said the official.

A court in Ahmedabad on Sunday remanded Setalvad and former state DGP Sreekumar in police custody till July 2 in a case of allegedly fabricating evidence to frame innocent persons in connection with the 2002 Gujarat riots.

To probe the case, the Gujarat police have formed an SIT headed by Deputy Inspector General (Anti-Terrorist Squad) Deepan Bhadran.

The official said statements of riot witnesses before the Supreme Court-appointed SIT and affidavits filed by the accused as well as others before the courts at that time will be collected as part of the probe because these documents are the main basis for the case.

A day after the Supreme Court upheld the clean chit given by an SIT to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 riot cases, the Gujarat police arrested Sreekumar and Mumbai-based Setalvad for allegedly conspiring to falsely implicate innocent persons.

Another former IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt, who is currently in jail in another case, has also been shown as an accused in the FIR.

The FIR was registered by the Ahmedabad city crime branch under sections 468, 471 (forgery), 194 (giving or fabricating false evidence with intent to procure conviction of capital offence), 211 (institute criminal proceedings to cause injury), 218 (public servant framing incorrect record or writing with intent to save person from punishment or property from forfeiture) and 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code on a complaint filed by a police inspector.

They instituted "false and malicious criminal proceedings against innocent people with intention to cause injury to several persons, and prepared false records and dishonestly used those records as genuine with the intention to cause damage and injury to many persons," as per the complaint.

The complaint drew on various submissions made before the Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed by the Supreme Court to investigate the 2002 Gujarat riots cases and submissions made by the accused before the Justice Nanavati-Shah Commission of Inquiry.

As per the FIR, Setalvad "had conjured, concocted, forged, fabricated facts and documents and/or evidence including fabrication of documents by persons who were protective witnesses of the complainant (Zakia Jafri)".

Setalvad and her NGO were co-petitioner with Zakia Jafri (wife of Congress leader Ehsan Jafri who was killed in the riots) in the plea filed against then-chief minister Narendra Modi and others in the Supreme Court.

The SC dismissed the petition on Friday and upheld the clean chit given to Modi and others.

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