New Delhi,Murali Krishnan : The Supreme Court today referred Teesta Setalvad’s anticipatory bail matter to a larger Bench while the stay on arrest will continue. Civil rights activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand had approached the Supreme Court after the Gujarat High Court had denied their anticipatory bail application.
The judgment was delivered at 10.30 am today by a Division Bench comprised of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel.
Senior Advocate Mahesh Jethmalani had represented the Gujarat government in the case while Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal had appeared for the petitioners.
Setalvad and Anand have been accused of misappropriating funds collected for building a “Museum of Resistance” at Gulbarg housing society in Ahmedabad where over 60 persons were killed during the Godhra riots of 2002. The Gujarat High Court had denied bail to the couple and their arrest by the Gujarat police seemed imminent when Kapil Sibal mentioned the matter before Chief Justice Dattu last month and got the arrest stayed.
The case was then listed before a Bench comprising Justice SJ Mukhopadhaya and Justice NV Ramana who had extended the stay. The matter was, subsequently, heard by a Bench presided by Justice Dipak Misra because one of the judges in the earlier Bench recused from the case.
During the hearing on February 19, Jethmalani had tried to impress upon the court for the need for custodial interrogation on the ground that the petitioners had repeatedly refused to accede to the requests of the police to supply necessary information and documents.
Meanwhile, Kapil Sibal who had appeared for Teesta and Javed, had taken strong objection to Jethmalani’s arguments and had submitted that all the requisite documents had, in fact, been produced before the High Court. He had also submitted that the petitioners had not misappropriated any funds for personal use as was alleged.