Supreme Court grants interim bail to Teesta Setalvad

September 02, 2022 09:43 pm | Updated 09:43 pm IST

Chief pontiff of Sri Murugha Mutt Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru is taken to a hospital in Chitradurga on September 2, 2022.

Chief pontiff of Sri Murugha Mutt Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru is taken to a hospital in Chitradurga on September 2, 2022. | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The Supreme Court has allowed activist Teesta Setalvad interim bail in a case of alleged forgery and fabrication of records in connection with the 2002 Gujarat riots cases.

A three-judge Special Bench led by Chief Justice of India U.U. Lalit said a case of interim bail is "evidently made out" on consideration of the facts that she is a woman who has already undergone seven days of custodial interrogation. The court noted that Ms. Setalvad has been in custody for over two months since her arrest in Mumbai by the Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad on June 25. The court noted that the offences alleged against her pertain to the year 2002 and, as per the assertions made by the State, to documents presented till 2012.

The Bench, in its order, said her interim bail would continue till the Gujarat High Court decided her pending application for regular bail in the case.

The Supreme Court directed Gujarat to produce Ms. Setalvad before the Ahmedabad Court concerned on September 3 for release on interim bail.

The lower court may subject her to interim bail conditions it "may deem appropriate to ensure her presence and participation in the pending proceedings". She would have to surrender her passport to be kept in the safe custody of the lower court while the High Court considered the question of regular bail. She should render complete cooperation in the investigation, the apex court directed.

On a request by senior advocate Kapil Sibal and advocate Aparna Bhat, appearing for Ms. Setalvad, the apex court directed the lower court not to insist on local security as a precondition for her release on interim bail. The court said she should be released on providing cash security or bond.

"It speaks volumes that a lady of her influence thinks she may not find a single local person in the entire State of Gujarat to stand security for her," Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said after the order was dictated by the court.

"That may equally speak volumes about the State," Mr. Sibal retorted.

"We are not concerned about anything other than the facts of the case," Chief Justice Lalit quelled the exchange between the lawyers.

The Bench, also comprising Justices S. Ravindra Bhat and Sudhanshu Dhulia, clarified that it was only concerned about the grant of interim bail during the pendency of the case in the Gujarat High Court and did not not go into the submissions made by Ms. Setalvad on the merits of the case against her.

The Bench left it completely to the High Court to look into her pending plea for regular bail, "independently and uninfluenced" by the observations made by the Supreme Court in its interim bail order.

The court further made clear that the interim bail order in favour of Ms. Setalavad should not be "used" in favour of her co-accused. When the occasion arises for them, their pleas for bail would be considered on its own individual merits.

"It is further clarified that the interim bail granted to the appellant (Ms. Setalvad) is based on peculiar facts, including the fact that the appellant happens to be a lady," the apex court noted.

On July 30, the trial court had refused Ms. Setalavad bail. Following which, she had applied to the High Court for regular bail and, in addition, interim bail during the pendency of her plea for regular bail.

In an order on August 3, the High Court did not give her interim bail while issuing notice to the State and posting the case on September 19.

Ms. Setalvad had appealed to the Supreme Court against both the lower court and High Court orders.

Karnataka seer sent to police custody till September 5  

The head of Brihan mutt in Chitradurga, Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru, arrested on Thursday night in connection with the alleged sexual harassment of minor girls, was on Friday sent to police custody till September 5 following court’s direction.

The day saw dramatic developments, with the seer being shifted from prison to hospital and then to police custody.

Earlier in the day, the seer was shifted from Chitradurga prison to district hospital after he complained of chest pain. The next few hours saw a team of doctors being called to check the health of the seer and several tests being conducted to ascertain the cause.

Soon reports emerged that the seer had been advised to be shifted to Jayadeva Institute of Cardiology in Bengaluru for further cardiac treatment. Subsequently an application was filed before Second Additional District and Sessions Court seeking permission to shift him to Bengaluru for treatment.

Jail Superintendent Akkamahadevi, who had shifted the seer to district hospital following complaint of uneasiness on Friday morning, had filed the application seeking court’s permission. Meanwhile, the district police had made a plea seeking a five-day custody of the seer for questioning.

In the afternoon, when the case came up for hearing before her, Judge B.K. Komala asked the applicants to produce supporting medical reports. As the applicant failed to produce related medical reports and documents, the judge directed them to produce the seer before the court personally immediately and adjourned the hearing.

Following the court’s direction, the scene at the district hospital, where preparations were reportedly being made to shift the seer to Bengaluru, suddenly changed. A huge posse of police personnel was deployed at the hospital and the traffic was cleared to take the seer to the court. After the seer on wheelchair was produced before the court, the judge granted the police three-day custody till (September 5) of the Lingayat seer and asked the investigating officer to provide required medical assistance to the seer while under police custody.

Labourer from West Bengal shot at by militants in J&K’s Pulwama

A migrant worker was shot at and injured by suspected militants in south Kashmir's Pulwama on Friday morning.

"The terrorists fired upon one outside labourer Muneerul Islam from West Bengal at Ugergund Newa in Pulwama," the police said.

The injured has been shifted to district hospital Pulwama. "His condition is stated to be stable," the police.

Security forces cordoned off the area after the incident and a manhunt is on to nab the attackers.

India’s indigenous aircraft carrier and largest warship INS Vikrant joins Navy

“In the past, security concerns in the Indo-Pacific region and the Indian Ocean have long been ignored, but today this area is a major defence priority of the country for us and we are working in every direction, from increasing the budget for the Navy to increasing its capability,” said Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, as the country’s first indigenous aircraft carrier and the most complex warship to be built, INS Vikrant was commissioned into the Indian Navy.

The ship is named after India’s first aircraft carrier Vikrant, which played a vital role in the 1971 war.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the commissioning ceremony of INS Vikrant at the Cochin Shipyard Limited in Kochi on September 2, 2022.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the commissioning ceremony of INS Vikrant at the Cochin Shipyard Limited in Kochi on September 2, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

“So far, such aircraft carriers were only made by developed countries. India has taken a step towards being a developed country by being part of the league,” Mr. Modi speaking at the formal commissioning ceremony.

Commanding Officer Capt. Vidhyadhar Harke read the commissioning warrant and the nishaan was hoisted as the national anthem was played followed by the breaking of the commissioning pendent.

The ship with a displacement of 42,800 tonnes was designed by the Navy’s Warship Design Bureau (WDB) and built by Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), a public sector shipyard under Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterway.

In Brief

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday expressed her anger at Kamareddy Collector Jitesh V. Patil when she did not find Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s picture at a fair price shop in Birkur mandal headquarters village. The Minister, on a visit to Zaheerabad Lok Sabha constituency since Thursday as part of BJP’s Lok Sabha Pravas Yojana, visited the ration shop at Birkur. When the Collector mumbled about a higher contribution from the State Government, Ms. Sitharaman got annoyed and gave him half an hour to get the details. “Do you want to rethink your answer as an IAS officer of Telangana cadre? Please find out the correct figure,” she said and when someone from her party wanted to answer, she retorted: “I am sure he knows, let him answer”.

Evening Wrap will return tomorrow 

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