2002 Gujarat riots: Guj police register FIR against Teesta Setalvad, former IPS officers RB Sreekumar, Sanjiv Bhatt

This comes a day after the Supreme Court dismissed the plea filed by Zakia Ehsan Jafri challenging the clean chit given to Prime Minister Narendra Modi by the Special Investigation Team in the 2002 Gujarat riots

From left: Teesta Setalvad, RB Sreekumar and Sanjiv Bhatt. Composite: PTI&ANI

The Gujarat Police have registered cases against former IPS officers Sanjiv Bhatt, who is already in jail for another matter, and RB Sreekumar and activist Teesta Setalvad for providing wrong and false information about the 2002 Gujarat riots.

The FIR against them cites various provisions of the Indian Penal Code including 468 (forgery for the purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document or electronic records), 120(B) (criminal conspiracy), 194 (giving or fabricating false evidence with the intent to procure conviction of capital offence),and 211 (false charge of offence made to injure).

This comes a day after the Supreme Court dismissed the plea filed by Zakia Ehsan Jafri challenging the clean chit given to Prime Minister Narendra Modi by the Special Investigation Team in the 2002 Gujarat riots.

Here’s what you need to know about it:

Teesta Setalvad

The activist was on Saturday detained by the Gujarat Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) from Mumbai in connection with an FIR registered against her at the Ahmedabad city crime branch, sources said.

“Teesta Setalvad has been picked up by the Gujarat ATS from Mumbai in connection with an FIR registered by the Ahmedabad crime branch,” a source in the Gujarat ATS said.

Setalvad’s NGO had supported Zakia Jafri throughout her legal battle. Jafri’s husband Ehsan Jafri was killed during the riots.

A Mumbai Police officer said Setalvad was picked up by the Gujarat Police from her Santacruz residence. “We provided the assistance sought by them” he added.

On Friday, a three-judge bench of the apex court headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar, upholding the Special Investigation Team or SIT’s 2012 clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Gujarat riots case, said that Setalvad, co-petitioner in the case, exploited the emotions of Zakia Jafri.

“All those involved in such abuse of process need to be in the dock and proceeded with in accordance with law,” the judges said, adding that the appeal was filed under “dictation of someone.”

“Antecedents of Teesta Setalvad need to be reckoned with and also because she has been vindictively persecuting this dispute for her ulterior design by exploiting the emotions and sentiments of Zakia Jafri, the real victim of the circumstances,” the top court said in its order.

Earlier in the day, Union Minister Amit Shah in an interview with ANI said that Setalvad-run NGO gave baseless information about the 2002 Gujarat riots to the police. “I have read the judgement very carefully. The judgement clearly mentions the name of Teesta Setalvad. The NGO that was run being run by her – I don’t remember the name of the NGO- had given baseless information about the riots to the police,” Amit Shah, in an exclusive interview, told ANI.

RB Sreekumar

The Ahmedabad Detection of Crime Branch (DCB) arrested retired DGP RB Sreekumar, reports Indian Express.

On Friday, in its 452-page judgment, the court had noted that Jafri’s allegations against Modi and others were largely based on the “ultra-sensational revelation” made by the former Gujarat director general of police (DGP), former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt and former state home minister Haren Pandya.

In August 2004, Sreekumar had deposed against the Gujarat government before the Nanavati-Shah Commission looking into the 2002 Godhra carnage and subsequent riots. In his submission, Sreekumar, who was heading the State Intelligence between April and September 2002, had informed the Commission in detail how the police administration was made to compromise by the government during the riots, according to an Indian Express report.

Subsequently, he was denied promotion by the government to the rank of Director General of Police. He took his case to the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) that gave its ruling in September 2006 in his favour. However, this order was once again reversed by the Gujarat High Court in 2015.

Sreekumar is also one of the accused in the ISRO espionage case, which had hit the headlines in 1994. It pertaines to allegations of transfer of certain confidential documents on India’s space programme to foreign countries by two scientists (one being Nambi Narayanan) and four others, including two Maldivian women. At that time Sreekumar was the deputy director, Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau (SIB) at Thiruvananthapuram.

At the time of his arrest Narayanan was working on cryogenic engine technology at ISRO. The CBI, who investigated the case, had said that it has found in its probe that some scientists were tortured and framed in the matter due to which development of the cryogenic engine was hit and this led to India’s space programme going back by almost one or two decades.

Sanjiv Bhatt

Bhatt had filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court alleging Modi’s complicity as chief minister of Gujarat in the 2002 anti-Muslim riots.

The apex court on Friday had said Bhatt and Pandya falsely claimed themselves to be eye-witnesses of the meeting in which utterances were allegedly made by the then chief minister and the SIT has negated their claim.

“At the end of the day, it appears to us that a coalesced effort of the disgruntled officials of the state of Gujarat along with others was to create a sensation by making revelations which were false to their own knowledge.

“The falsity of their claims had been fully exposed by the SIT after a thorough investigation.

In 2019 he was sentenced to life imprisonment by a Jamnagar sessions court for a 1990 custodial torture and death case for which he is serving time. But last March, three decades after filing a criminal complaint against Bhatt, the complainant informed the Gujarat high court that he wants to withdraw the complaint.

With input from agencies

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