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SC grants interim bail to Teesta Setalvad

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday granted interim bail to social activist Teesta Setalvad in a case in which she was arrested for forgery and criminal conspiracy pertaining to the 2002 Gujarat riots.

Setalvad had moved the Supreme Court after her bail plea was rejected by the Sessions Court and the Gujarat High Court deferred the matter for September 17 to hear the case.

A three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and also comprising Justices S Ravindra Bhat and Sudhanshu Dhulia passed the order.

The Supreme Court directed for producing her on Saturday and releasing her on conditions which the court deems appropriate. She has been asked to surrender her passport till matter is heard by the High Court.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the the Gujarat government, told the Supreme Court that Setalvad has maligned Gujarat since 2002.

Kapil Sibal argued that there are 28 cases in which the same judge of the Gujarat High Court had given early dates but deferred this case for a longer time.

Mehta opposed the arguments and submissions of Sibal.

“This lady has maligned the entire state, the state judiciary, the High Court. You cannot say something like this behind the back of a Gujarat High Court judge,” Mehta submitted.

Mehta said it was not like she was singled out. “This maligning campaign … should stop.”

The Chief Justice wanted to know from Mehta that what has been found from her custodial interrogation so far? How many times has she been interrogated?

Mehta replied that she was interrogated for seven days and she refused to answer many questions. Sibal countered and said: “All things have been motivated against her.”

“How can forgery be filed against her when she has not committed it? This is malicious, motivated and she has nothing to do with it. The closure report has been filed in many cases,” Sibal told the Supreme Court.

He said she has not tampered with any evidence or witness as claimed by the prosecution. She is 60 years old and what can she do?

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