Recently two TV news channels labeled CJP Secretary Teesta Setalvad “anti-Hindu” due to her commitment to secularism and human rights related work with religious minorities. This prompted CJP to move NHRC, as such irresponsible and malicious reportage puts a virtual bull’s eve on Setalvad’ back and endangers her life. But this is not the first time Setalvad or other members of CJP have been targeted by state or non state actors. Take a look at this chronologically arranged comprehensive list that gives details of each such incident.
Nov 4, 2004 - In a press conference held in Vadodara, Gujarat riot survivor Zahira Shaikh accuses Teesta Setalvad of, not only forcibly keeping Zahira in her custody, but also tutoring her to give a false affidavit to the SC.
Nov 9, 2004 - Bombay HC grants Setalvad 72 hour protection against arrest
Nov, 2017 - In an application (CRA) filed in the Supreme Court, Setalvad seeks an inquiry into the manner in which allegations were made by Zahira Shaikh to uncover the facts behind her being made to turn hostile during trial. The SC appoints a special inquiry committee under the Registrar General of the SC.
August 27, 2005 - The Registrar General of the Supreme Court was appointed to conduct an inquiry into Zahira's allegations about Setalvad kidnapping, coersing and tutoring her. His inquiry report finds Setalvad innocent of all charges. The report finds Zahira Shaikh, her mother and sister guilty of perjury. BJP MLA Madhu Srivastava (accused of giving money to Ms Shaikh) refuses to give his voice test samples for investigation as does his brother Chandrakant Bhattu Srivastava. Unauthorised money has been found in Zahira's bank account.
March 8, 2006 - The SC accepts the Registrar General's report and sentences Zahira to one year imprisonment for Contempt of Court. It also fines her Rs 50,000/-.
April 2009 - Some officers of the SIT from the Gujarat police accuse Teesta Setalvad of fabricating cases of violence and producing false in witnesses in a report that was a confidential report before the SC. This aspect (which is part of a confidential report to the Supreme Court) is leaked selectively to sections of the media by SIT and powerful political personalities closely aligned to the Gujarat Govt. The SC expresses displeasure at this leak of a confidential report. Senior counsel, Mukul Rohatgi who then appeared for Gujarat government, speaks to CNN-IBN on this while telling SC that he has not spoken to media. Rohatgi post 2014 was appointed Attorney General of India and has since, resigned. The accusations by some of the SIT members including IO Suthar centre around Setalvad allegedly fabricating macabre tales of wanton killings and that false charges were levelled against police chief PC Pandey and that false witnesses were tutored to give testimony about imaginary killings. Sections of the media play this leak up. Trustees of CJP write back and Times of India publishes a clarification.
Jan 2008 - CJP informs all police stations and district collectorates of the decision. CJP found him misbehaving with witnesses and hob-nobbing with local political toughs in Gujarat.
September 1, 2010 - Former CJP employee Rais Khan hurls a volley of accusations against Setalvad and allies, thirty one and a half months (31.5 months) after he is dismissed goes on a forum hopping spree against Setalvad of CJP. Rais Khan Pathan first files an application with the SIT making baseless allegations. He subsequently writes to the Commissioner of Police, Crime Branch. Pathan approaches several fora to discredit Setalvad and CJP: several ongoing trial courts, the Nanavati Shah Commission, SIT etc. This is a crucial period since the Zakia Jafri case against Narendra Modi and 61 others is being heard in the SC, Prashant Bhushan is amicus and the CJP team has conducted serious investigations on the phone call records between accused and policemen that show a chilling complicity of deliberate inaction during the worst periods of the post Godhra reprisal violence while it happened post February 28, 2002.
October, 19, 2010 - Setalvad and team file a response, but are denied the right to cross examine Pathan. Setalvad responds with her affidavit in counter to the charges.
October 28, 2010 - Rais Khan Pathan moves Ahmedabad Sessions Court in Gulberg trial, requesting to be examined as a witness alleging he was privy to information about false affidavits and fabricated cases. He is not granted permission.
December 3, 2010 - The Sessions Court hearing the Naroda Gaam trial rejects Rais Khan Pathan's application and observes, "the court fails to understand as to how the person who has prepared the false affidavit and who has no sanctity for the ongoing process of justice at th erlevant time and who has no regards for the truth, can be trusted/relied for just decision of the case." The Court directs however that a complaint be made by the Registrar to the City Civil and Sessions Court, Ahmedabad against Rais Khan Pathan and "other persons" send it to the competent court for further proceedings. Significantly, the issues related to affidavits filed by survivors before the Supreme Court in 2003 wherein the plea was for transfer of investigation. In law, only evidence led before the court in question (here the NG trial court) is liable to attract the penal provision of perjury.
December 20, 2010 - The Sessions Court hearing the Sardarpura trial dismisses Rais Khan Pathan's application. It also issues a notice to Rais Khan Pathan asking why he should not be prosecuted for attempting to 'mislead' the trial court.
December, 2010 - Gujarat HC suddenly and without notice vacates a stay on the quashing petition In the Pandharwada Mass Graves Matter. Rais Khan tells TOI his one aim is to get Teesta Setalvad in jail. Setalvad applies for transit bail in Mumbai and this bail is confirmed (anticipatory bail) by a Godhra Sessions Court on March 15, 2011. Background: Filed by an officer of the government at 1.30 Am on 2.1.2006. This is a FIR (CR 1-3-2006) filed following some digging of the ground by some persons seeking to retrieve some debris of their dead relatives who were buried hurriedly. The FIR was filed after the High Court ordered the CBI to enquire into the matter and the victims were directed to give samples for DNA testing. Teesta Setalvad was added as an accused in this case in 2011. Rais Khan first an accused with Survivors was at the root of turning around his testimony and saying his “aim was to get Setalvad arrested” (TOI December 31 2010).
August 2, 2011 - Teesta Setalvad first granted Transit Bail by Mumbai Sessions Court and then Anticipatory Bail by Additional Sessions Judge Ahmedabad. Gujarat asks for custodial interrogation, this is refused by the Sessions Court. Setalvad granted bail.
August-September, 2011 - In both the Pandharwada Mass Graves Case and the Naroda Gaam case, the SC stays the Gujarat Police's Witch-Hunt passing strictures against the State.
September, 2011 - Gujarat state file an application for cancellation of Teesta Setalvad's bail in Gujarat HC. This is still pending and may be activated any day now. (2017)
November 9, 2011 - Mehsana Court directs Registrar, District and Sessions Court Mehsana to make complaint in writing for offenses punishable under Section 177 and 182 of IPC against Rais Khan Pathan. Directs complaint be sent to competent court. While delivering judgement on November 9, 2011 convicting 31 persons for killing 33 persons on March 1, 2011, the Court specifically comments upon and exonerates CJP's role. The Learned Judge at para 56 & 57 of the judgment deals with the issue and para 56 is reproduced here: “56. It is submitted on behalf of accused that, eyewitness are tutored by Smt.Teesta Setalvad. The interest of Teesta Setalvad and her organization in the present case is obvious. The witnesses have specifically denied that, Teesta Setalvad has told them as to what evidence was to be given in a case. Considering the evidence and fact in this regard when we consider this fact mere discussion about the case would not necessarily indicate tutoring. It is not an accepted proposition that, the witnesses are never to be contacted by any one or spoken to about the matter regarding which they are to depose. A number of things can be told to the witnesses such as not to be nurvous, carefully listen to the question put to them, state the facts before the Court without fear, therefore it does not appear any objectionable morally or legally. Tutoring a witness is quite different from guiding him as to his behaviour. In the present case, the injured witnesses were in such a state of mind that without the active support of someone they might not have come before the court to give evidence at all. The encouragement and the advice if provided by Citizen for Peace and Justice that cannot be considered as tutoring and simply because of that, we cannot infer that the witnesses are tutored. From the matter it transpires that Citizen for Justice and Peace have made allegations before the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India against the State authorities but on that strength it cannot be said that, NGOs. have worked with bad motives. If they had fought for truth what was believed by them as truth. It does not mean that they have tutored the witnesses to falsely identify the accused in the Court.”
August 29, 2012 - Excerpts from Naroda Patiya Judgment: "It is notable that it is not alleged that the NGO leaders or lawyers or the social workers have any personal enmity or ill-will against the accused. Hence the suggestion in the cross-examination of PW that they have been speaking as was taught to them, is found very irrelevant. What would be the benefit of such NGO is nowhere suggested except suggesting that it was to defame State of Gujarat. But then, the State of Gujarat is not an accused but is the prosecuting agency which was forgotten it seems. No substance is found in this submission.”
March - July, 2012 - Yasmeen Shaikh, another witness in the Best Bakery case, instigated by Rais Khan & represented by Mahesh Jethmalani, tries to disrupt the hearing of the Best Bakery Appeal while it was being heard in the Bombay High Court in 2012. Shaikh, instigated by Khan, had filed an affidavit making false averments on affidavit that are the same as now made in her recent complaint. But the Bombay High Court did not accept it. Para 151….Bombay High Court Judgement, date 4/07.2012: "Though there has been omissions and improvements in their testimony and also contradictions on some of the major particulars that by itself cannot be a ground for discarding their evidence in its entirety and it cannot be said that they have been tutored by the third party, particularly Mrs Teesta Setalvad. It cannot be forgotten that when an appeal was filed by Zahira in the Supreme Court against the judgment and order of Gujarat High Court and in the said appeal Mrs Teesta Setalvad who was a member of the NGO – Citizens for Justice and Peace, was also a party. The Supreme Court entertained the said appeal, accepted the affidavit of Zahira and others, permitted Mrs Teesta Setalvad to intervene in the matter and, thereafter, the matter was transferred to the Bombay High Court and request was made to the Hon'ble Chief Justice to assign the case to the competent trial court. That being the position, Supreme Court having passed the said direction, possibly Mrs Teesta Setalvad wanted to ensure that these witnesses are produced before the Court and, therefore, in our view, it will not be proper to attribute any other motive to her. The said submission, therefore, is not accepted.”
June 2012 - A simple defamation case was used to conduct a roving Inquiry by the DCB Crime Branch, Ahmedabad. Police officers of the Crime Branch Ahmedabad behaved in close complicity with Rais Khan. This roving Inquiry has been challenged by Setalvad in a petition before the Hon’ble High Court.
2012 - 2013 - Through several hearings Ram Jethmalani, Meenakshi Lekhi appear for Rais Khan in SC in Naroda Gaam matter making allegations against Justice Aftab Alam demanding that he recuse himself from hearing the case
February 2012 to December 2013 - SIT Files a Closure in the Famed Zakia Jafri Case depsite the Amicus Curaie report recommending prosecution against the CM, Zakia challenges the Closure report and asks for Investigation papers. 24,000 pages in 63 Box files are given to her in May 2012, yet SIT witholds crucial parts of the Inquiry report. She, assisted by CJP files a second SLP requesting these documents that are finally granted in February 2013. The SC gives her two months, till April 15, 2013 to file her protest petition which she does. All of 2013 arguments on this historic piece of legislation take place. Finally on December 26, 2013 Magistrate Ganatra rejects the protest petition.
Jan 4, 2014 - Mahesh Jethmalani appears for Gujarat Police in High Court and Rais Khan in SC. A former Gulberg society resident files FIR against Teesta, Javed Anand, Tanvir Jafri and two others accusing them of embezzlings funds to the tune of Rs 1.5 crores. Funds were meant for construction of memorial for 2002 riot victims at Gulberg society. This is eight days after the rejection of the Zakia Jafri protest petition. According to the FIR, Setalvad and Anand have been booked under sections 438 of Criminal Procedure Code, 72(A) of Information Technology Act, and 406, 420 and 120B of the Indian Penal Code. Teesta and others applied for anticipatory bail and Bombay HC granted them interim relief for three weeks. Rais Khan is made a witness in this complaint too by the Gujarat police. Allegedly on the basis of a complaint by three members of the Gulberg society this FIR is lodged and a vicious fishing expedition is lodged against the couple, Setalvad and Anand by the Crime Branch. Couple get transit bail from Mumbai (Advocate Manisha Luv Kumari appears for State of Gujarat here and Rais Khan in Gujarat). False allegations are made and espite documented rebuttals on affidavit, the media continues with a one-sided barrage. Sessions Court refuses to grant ABA in March 2014, then they appeal this in the Gujarat HC where intermittent hearings take place through 2014 and detailed rejoinders are filed on affidavit. Over 20,000 pages of Vouchers and Documents are Submitted to the HC. HC directs Setalvad and Anand to appear before the Crime Branch for questioning in December 2014-January 2015. They do so. Through this tumultuous and stressful period Setalvad with her team manages to assist Smt Zakia Jafri in filing CRA 205/2014 in the Gujarat High Court against Magistrate Ganatra's dismissal of her petition. No charge sheet has been filed to date.
2014 - 2017 - This act was committed by the police and the IDBI and Union Banks without even as giving a notice to the trusts or Setalvad or Anand. They challenged this first in Bombay HC, which sent it to Gujarat on issues of jurisdiction (April 2014). Thereafter they applied to Gujarat HC in four separate petitions; Court directed Magistrate to hear it within three months. Then four separate petitions were filed in 2015 before the Magistrate and argued. After which the matter was brought in challenge to the Gujarat HC when the Sessions refused the applications for de-freezing. After arguments concluded in Gujarat High Court, the judge did not deliver the judgement for several months after which it was turned down. Then CJP, Sabrang, Javed Anand and Setalvad have challenged this in the Supreme Court. Matter was argued in July 2017. On December 15, 2017, the SC dismissed the case for de-freezing the accounts pending investigation.
August 23, 2014 - Case of inflammatory speech for a tweet that Teesta Setalvad apologized for and removed within 40 minutes to an hour on 22.08.2014. Two FIRs filed for this alleged 'offence' one by Crime Branch Ahmedabad, second in Bhavnagar. Setalvad seeks Transit Bail from Mumbai in both. Thereafter, Anticipatory Bail granted by Ahmedabad Sessions Court. Condition and the Bhavnagar Sessions court. The Ahmedabad courts places a condition that she deposits her passport with the police. Even in this case, custodial interrogation was insisted upon by the Gujarat police crime branch. Setalvad applied for a modification of the order and got a direction from the court so that her passport lies with the Sessions Court not the police. She has appealed the matter (asking for a modification of the conditions of the order) and also in a separate petition prayed for a quashing of the malafide FIR.
2014 - 2015 Ahmedabad court gives Teesta Setalvad permission to travel to Malaysia, Indonesia and South Korea in this period for international conferences.
February 12, 2015 - Mahesh Jethmalani makes a statement to the media saying that Javed Anand has been arrested! Gujarat High Court rejects Setalvad and Anand's ABA and refuses to grant them stay to appeal to the SC. Within 40 minutes, the Gujarat police arrive at their residence in Juhu, Mumbai several hundred kilometres away with a copy of the Order.The SC stays the Order and grants protection on the same day.vOn February 19, at a detailed hearing the SC expresses string opinions on the bid to incarcerate Setalvad and Anand.
March - April, 2015 - Using documenta obtained during the Gujarat police fishing expedition, the GOG writes to the MHA instigating a FCRA probe into Sabrang trust, CJP and Sabrang Communications. SC refers the ABA to a Three Judge Bench. MHA Inspection takes place in April 2015.
March 6, 2015 - Ministry of Human Resources Development sets up a committee to probe charges of of embezzlement against Teesta and husband Javed Anand to get them to quit Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE). Setalvad's Sabrang Trust is accused of misappropriating Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan funds. Sabrang had allegedly receibed Rs 1.30 crores from SSA over the last three years and returned Rs 5.91 lakh this year. Complaint on which inquiry committee was set up was filed by former Sabrang employee Rais Khan Pathan in June 2014.
June 19, 2015 - Home Ministry serves notice to Sabrang Trust and Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) run by Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand for alleged violations of Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) asking them to reply within 15 days. CJP was said to have received foreign funds to the tune of Rs 1.18 crores from 2008-09 to 2013-14. Every allegation was responded to in great detail backed by documents.
June 29, 2015 - Sessions Court refuses to give Teesta Setalvad permission to travel to an international seminar in Brazil. This takes place one week before SC proceedings on granting her bail. Teesta's passport has been in the custody of the local Courts since October 2014 due to the pending charges against her.
July 2015 - MHA officials seek explanation on consultancy taken from Ford Foundation in June 2015. In mid-June newspaper reports of an FIR by MHA to CBI appear. On June 30, 2015, lawyers of CJP speak to CBI and both Setalvad and Anand write to Director, CBI offering full cooperation and also listing all documents made available to MHA during its inspection in June 2015. Despite this, the homes and offices are raided. Within days, the duo move for ABA to the CBI Court, Mumbai. CBI Court rejects ABA of the duo and both are granted interim protection by the Bombay HC. Through one week, under HC directions both appear before the CBI to answer all questions.
August 11, 2015 - In a high voltage drama, the Bombay HC grants ABA to both, Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand, saying speaking against a government is not being anti-national. Mahesh Jethmalani comes in as appearing for the Viswa Hindu Parishad at the fag end of the hearing.
October 2015 - 2016 - This case is tagged to Gujarat Police ABA matter. Both come up every six weeks and require personal presence through part of 2015 and 2016.
2016 - Home Ministry Grants FCRA License to CJP and puts it in Prior Permission Category. Sabrang Trust is given a chance to appear after which license is cancelled. Later in 2016, after being given the FCRA license, the FCRA license of CJP is also cancelled.
Throughout 2016 - This compels Setalvad and Anand to make trips every two months to Delhi to the SC. The Bail application is still pending.
December 2016 - CBI initiates probe into alleged violations of the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FCRA). CBI probing allegations that Sabrang Communication Publishing Pvt Ltd as a company could not accept a consultancy from Ford Foundation. Since FF had deducted TDS from the Consultancy Amount it had been treated as a tax deductible consultancy (source of income) and not a grant.
January 2017 - The ABA granted by Bombay HC to Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand is converted to Judicial Bail. They are bound to report their out of Mumbai travel to the court and apply for permission for out of the country travel. Matter is pending.
2017 - SC lifts stay and gives leave to SC to approach the HC for correction in charge sheet where she was wrongly names 'absconding accused.'
2017 - SC Gives Setalvad liberty to approach lower courts against Gujarat Sessions Court Order in the Naroda Gaam case.
December 15, 2017 - After the bank accounts belonging to Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand and their NGOs CJP and Sabrang Trust were frozen, Setalvad and Anand had moved SC with a plea to de-freeze the accounts. While the SC dismissed this plea pending investigation, it also allowed Setalvad to approach the court again to de-freeze the accounts once the investigation is completed. On Jan 4, 2018, it will be four years since the FIR was filed in this case.