New Delhi(PTI): Supreme Court on Friday deferred the hearing on the anticipatory bail plea of…
New Delhi,Prabhati Nayak Mishra(DNA): With an observation that “personal liberty is paramount. Liberty cannot be put on ventilator or be kept in ICU,” the Supreme Court on Thursday hinted to grant anticipatory bail to activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand in theGulbarg society funds embezzlement case and said its interim order not to arrest them will continue till pronouncement of the order.
The court, at the same time asked Setalvad to provide a list of donors, all audited documents of and bank account details pertaining to her two NGOs-Sabrang and Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) as required by the Gujarat police for investigation.
“This isn’t a case of any scam which needs custodial interrogation. This is a case of misuse of funds of NGOs. Police have to find out if the accounts of the two organisations are in system or not,” a bench of justices Dipak Misra and AK Goel observed during two-hour long hearing of the anticipatory bail plea of the activists in a jam packed court room.
Former Law minister and Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Setalvad started his arguments saying that no citizen or State is above the law.
He said that the Gujarat government “cannot take upon itself the task of persecuting someone who has criticised the State for its wrong actions”. He said that this is the seventh instance when the State lodged an FIR against her and other six, the Supreme Court had protected her liberty.
The bench asked Jethmalani to cite grounds for which the Gujarat police is seeking personal interrogation of Setalvad and her husband.
Jethmalani, who referred to the complaint in which riot victims have expressed their anguish for her “false” promises, has denied any malafide on the part of the State and said the grounds that “rank non co-operation and tampering with the witnesses,” for which their custodial interrogation is required.
A complaint on the charges of cheating, breach of trust was from 12 Gulbarg residents on March 12, 2013. It was alleged that couple through their NGOs had collected donations in the name of riot victims and later misappropriated them.
They are accused of transferring the money into their personal account and used them for their personal expenses. According to police, the embazzled amount is to the tune of Rs 1.5 crore.
To this, Justice Misra asked whether Setalvad had not come on any day she was summoned by the police. Jethmalani replied that she was called twice and she had come on both occasions.
Following Jethmalani’s contention, Justice Misra said Setalvad is obliged under law to provide all documents to the probe agency and merely to secure these records her personal liberty need not be taken away.
“You don’t act smart. Produce all the documents,” Justice Misra said to Sibal’s client. The bench reserved its order saying “they will not be arrested and the court’s February 13 order to continue.”