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ATS DIG-led SIT to probe case against Setalvad, ex-IPS officers

June 26, 2022 21:32 IST

A Special Investigation Team (SIT), to be headed by a deputy inspector general (DIG) of Gujarat Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS), will probe the case against activist Teesta Setalvad and former Indian Police Service officers R B Sreekumar and Sanjiv Bhatt who have been accused of abusing the process of law by fabricating evidence to frame innocent people in connection with the 2002 Gujarat communal riots, a senior official said on Sunday.

IMAGE: Activist Teesta Setalvad in police custody. Photograph: ANI Photo

Earlier in the day, the Ahmedabad crime branch had arrested Setalvad, a day after she was detained in Mumbai and shifted to Gujarat.

 

Ex-Gujarat Director General of Police Sreekumar was arrested on Saturday while the process is on to get a transfer warrant for custody of Bhatt, who is serving a life sentence in a custodial death case at a jail at Palanpur, in connection with the first information report (FIR) lodged against them.

The SIT will be headed by DIG of Gujarat ATS Deepan Bhadran and will have deputy commissioner of police (DCP) of Ahmedabad Crime Branch, and superintendent of police (SP) of Gujarat ATS as its two members, the official said.

The investigation will be carried out by the assistant commissioner of police (ACP) of the Ahmedabad Special Operations Group (SOG), Gujarat ATS DIG Bhadran told PTI.

Setalvad and Sreekumar were arrested by the crime branch, and a process has been initiated to bring Bhatt -- who is serving a life sentence in a custodial death case at a jail at Palanpur in the state's Banaskantha district -- to Ahmedabad on a transfer warrant, DCP (Crime), Chaitanya Mandlik had told reporters.

The city crime branch registered an FIR against Setalvad, Sreekumar, and Bhatt on Saturday, a day after the Supreme Court dismissed a petition challenging the clean chit given by the SIT to the then chief minister Narendra Modi and others in 2002 post-Godhra riots cases.

The trio has been accused of abusing the process of law by conspiring to fabricate the evidence in an attempt to frame innocent people for an offence punishable with capital punishment in connection with the 2002 Gujarat riots.

While dismissing the plea of Zakia Jafri, wife of slain former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri who was killed during riots, the apex court observed that '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'.

Setalvad, Sreekumar, and Bhatt were booked under Sections 468, 471 (forgery), 194 (giving or fabricating false evidence with intent to procure conviction of capital offence), 211 (institute criminal proceedings to cause injury), 218 (public servant framing incorrect record or writing with intent to save a person from punishment or property from forfeiture), and 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.

The complaint is mainly based on the documents of proceedings and other materials to make out a case of cognizable offence.

It drew on various submissions made before the Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed by the Supreme Court to investigate the 2002 Gujarat riots cases and the Justice Nanavati-Shah Commission of Inquiry appointed by the Gujarat government to probe these cases.

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