Press Release: CJP Rebuts Further Mala Fide Allegations by Gujarat Government

The Gujarat police continue to deal in blatant falsehoods, twisted
facts, deliberate jugglery of accounts and foul innuendos, with the
malicious intent of colouring the public discourse and prejudice the
public mind, says Citizens for Justice and Peace.

This Press Release specifically counters the malicious lies in the
Affidavit in Sur-Rejoinder filed by KN Patel, IO Crime Branch for
the Respondent State of Gujarat dated 18.03.2014 in Ahmedabad (and
replicated with few changes in Mumbai dated 19.03.2014). For
those newspapers/publications that published screaming headlines of
us misusing funds, without contacting any office bearers for
clarifications, we appeal in the interests of both fair and
independent journalism and basic honesty to print this Rebuttal with
the same enthusiasm and prominence.

In a counter affidavit filed by her in the Sessions Court in
Ahmedabad on March 21, 2014, in response to the affidavit in sur-rejoinder
filed by the Gujarat police, Teesta Setalvad, Secretary, Citizens
for Justice and Peace, has accused the Gujarat police of once again
resorting to blatant falsehoods, twisted facts, deliberate jugglery
of accounts and foul innuendos, with the malicious intent of
colouring the public discourse and prejudice the public mind.

What is most shocking is the brazen manner in which the Gujarat
police continue to spread falsehoods through signed affidavits,
indicating callous disregard of the justice process. This is nothing
short of perjury.

It is evident from the affidavits filed by the Gujarat police that they are in full possession of all our audited accounts, bank accounts (organizational and personal) and personal credit card
bills. All of these have been obtained through highly questionable
means, which itself is a subject for investigation. That apart, the
foul intent and malice of the Gujarat police is more than evident
from the fact that despite being in possession of dubiously acquired
information it continues to heap falsehood upon falsehood.

In its affidavit in sur-rejoinder, the Gujarat police have claimed
that a host of expenses of a purely personal nature incurred through
the personal credit card bills of Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand
were paid by Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) and Sabrang Trust.
The police cannot but know that this is a blatant lie. All it needed
to do to know the facts of the case was to tally the total expenses
as shown in the credit card bills with the amounts “reimbursed” to
them by the two trusts.  They have deliberately manipulated credit
card details from the personal accounts of both, paid from their
independent personal incomes as expenses incurred by them from
public money.

Neither CJP nor Sabrang Trust has any debit/credit cards in their
respective names. For logistical convenience, with the full
knowledge and consent of the trustees and auditors of the two
trusts, air and train tickets are frequently booked online (using
the personal credit cards of Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand). It is
only such expenses strictly related to the legitimate activities
which are reimbursed by Sabrang Trust and CJP after due
verification. Despite being fully aware of this fact, the Gujarat
police have claimed, with obvious dubious motive, that a host of
personal expenses, including hair-cuts, purchase of grocery, shoes,
jewellery etc. have been paid for by the trusts.

Such expenses met out of public funds should “shock the conscience
of the court”, claims the sur-rejoinder. If anything, it is the
blatant lies on oath repeatedly indulged by the police that should
stir the conscience of court.

CJP and Sabrang Trust emphatically and categorically deny the claim
made in the affidavit in sur-rejoinder that cash withdrawals from
the two trusts totalling Rs. 75,28,000 (over many years) have been
siphoned off or pocketed by Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand. That
this too is an entirely baseless allegation can be established
through the accounts books and cash vouchers of both CJP and Sabrang
Trust.

Similarly, the sur-rejoinder claims that funds from the bank
accounts of CJP and Sabrang Trust running into lakhs have been
transferred into fixed deposits in the “family personal names” of
Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand. CJP and Sabrang Trust challenge the
Gujarat police to provide evidence of even a single rupee thus
transferred from the bank accounts of either of the two trusts into
fixed deposits in personal names. Instead, the Gujarat police,
functioning in nexus with one family of the Gulberg society and a
former employee of CJP cited as “witness” in the specious FIR, is
functioning at the behest of the political bigwigs in the state who
are seriously affected by the persistent struggle for justice aided
by CJP.

On one hand, the sur-rejoinder rubbishes the contention that all the
amounts paid by CJP and Sabrang Trust to Sabrang Communications and
Publishing Pvt. Ltd. were towards shared-costs of repair and
maintenance expenses of office space and office equipment and shared
staff. On the other hand, the Gujarat police claims to have made the
“discovery” that the registered offices of all the three
organizations – Nirant, Juhu Tara Road, Juhu, Mumbai- 400049) are
the same! The simple point that the issue of shared costs would
simply not arise if the three organizations had three different and
separate office space, office equipments and staff (both
administrative and technical/project staff), has escaped the Gujarat
police.

The sur-rejoinder reiterates that only Rs. 2.49 lakh was spent on
Legal Aid expenses. We challenge the Gujarat police to provide proof
of this totally bogus claim. CJP has spent over Rs. 2 crore (nearly
hundred times the police claim) on Legal Aid to the
victims-survivors of the state-sponsored Gujarat pogrom and this can
easily be established through accounts books, voucher files and
annually audited accounts. This deliberate underestimation is
deliberate and meant to prejudice the public mind.

In its rejoinder the Gujarat police also baselessly claims that we
have admitted many of its claims of having transferred crores of
funds from the public trusts to our personal accounts. We
emphatically and categorically deny having made any such admissions,
except to the extent of remunerations for performing specific duties
and responsibilities as per Board resolutions of CJP and Sabrang
Trust and reimbursements towards expenses incurred on legitimate
activities of the two trusts. The campaign launched by the Ahmedabad
Crime Branch against the CJP and its Trustees is aimed at crippling
the struggle for justice and at maligning and defaming honest, hard
working activists in the public domain.

CJP believes that strong action needs to be launched against the
falsehoods made on oath as also the coercively manner in which
accounting details were obtained. Publications that irresponsibly
published a one sided picture without even attempting any
clarifications from us are also guilty of defamation and libel for
which suitable action will be taken.

Attached is a copy of the Affidavit in Reply to the Sur-rejoinder
filed in the Ahmedabad Sessions Court today.

AFFIDAVIT


Trustees:

I.M. Kadri,
Nandan Maluste
Teesta Setalvad

Cyrus Guzder

Javed Akhtar
Alyque Padamsee
Anil Dharker

Ghulam Peshimam
Rahul Bose
Javed Anand

Cedric Prakash


 

 


 

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