A day after a Supreme Court bench observed that people with vested interest had sought keep the 2002 post-Godhra riots pot boiling and suggested action against them, the police arrested activist Teesta Setalvad and former Gujarat DGP R B Sreekumar in Mumbai and Ahmedabad, respectively, on Saturday. The Gujarat Police had sent its Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) to Mumbai to arrest Setalvad.
The court’s ruling was widely read as pointing towards Setalvad’s NGO, Citizens for Justice and Peace, which worked extensively with many victims, including petitioner Zakia Jafri, whose family was a victim of the Gulbarg Society massacre. Setlavad was a co-petitioner in the case.
As for Setalvad, she lodged a complaint at Santacruz against the Gujarat ATS for assaulting her. She in her complaint, she said: “Eight-ten police personnel entered our house. I have big bruise on my left hand. I fear for my life.”
Earlier in the day, the Ahmedabad Crime Branch arrested former Sreekumar after registering a complaint and conducting a preliminary inquiry. The complaint named Sanjeev Bhatt, Sreekumar and Setalvad as accused, adding they misrepresented information, damaged the image of Gujarat and abused the legal process. According to the complaint, they had created a situation where false evidence was thrown against the SIT, the trial court, the Gujarat High Court and the Supreme Court.
The entire operation to arrest Setalvad was kept secret. The Crime Branch sent a team to Mumbai early in the morning to catch her by surprise. Former IPS officer Bhatt is currently serving his sentence in Palanpur Jail in connection with a custodial death case. The Crime Branch is expected to arrest him any time now.