Gujarat turns heat on Teesta for false affidavits

via Daily Pioneer published on April 17, 2010

The Gujarat Government has turned the heat on noted social activist Teesta Setalvad demanding a case to be registered against her for tutoring witnesses to file false affidavits before the Supreme Court.

Giving a twist to the sudden demand by Setalvad for replacing the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the Gujarat riots, the State Government in its latest affidavit filed in the Supreme Court has severely criticised Setalvad. It said she was pursuing a political objective in trying to discredit the SIT after failing to prove her allegations against the State Government before the probe team with the help of ‘tutored’ witnesses.

The affidavit said, “In view of facts coming on record during the investigation by an agency appointed by this court which functioned only under the supervision of this court that Teesta Setalvad committed a serious offence of interfering with the investigation by sending tutored witnesses filing false affidavits before the court and made attempts to intimidate the agency appointed by this court (the SIT) by making belated allegations against them.”

Making no bones about its opposition to the demand for a fresh round of investigation by another independent agency apart from SIT, the State Government said, “Unless and until there is a finding under Section 173(8) of the Code of Criminal Procedure that the investigation is defective, as alleged or otherwise, this court may not consider the present application which is substantially based on an unsustainable and belated allegation that the investigation is inadequate.”

The State of Gujarat, it added, has never objected to or opposed either any prayers reasonably made by any of the parties or any suggestion coming from the amicus curiae to unearth the truth. It cited how the SIT investigation even resulted in cancellation of bail to a Minister in Gujarat Government, Maya Kodnani. “But the purpose of filing this affidavit is to demonstrate that the august forum of this court is being misused by the applicant, Teesta Setalvad who, for some undisclosed ulterior object, is desirous of keeping the present controversy alive,” it pointed out.

Relying on certain scathing SIT reports against Setalvad in raising false allegations against the State, the affidavit said, “This is a fit case to do complete justice for protecting and maintaining the majesty of this court and in the most respectful submission of the State Government, this court be pleased to direct registration of an offence against Teesta Setalvad and her accomplices and the investigation be ordered to be conducted.”

On a broad note, the State offered another suggestion to court to consider framing parameters to ensure NGOs, which are neither the prosecutor nor victim, nor accused, nor witness, are allowed to get away by levelling false allegations against the State. In this regard, it demanded notices to be issued to all States and Union Territories since it was a common problem faced by all States.

Terming the intention of Teesta’s NGO to raise muck first against the State and now against the SIT as part of an “undisclosed ulterior political and vested object”, the affidavit said, “In the absence of any statutory regulatory mechanism, if NGOs are permitted to tarnish the reputation and image of one entire State based on falsehood, it not only results in social and communal disharmony but clearly amounts to an unlawful interference in the statutory proceedings without corresponding responsibility or obligation upon the NGOs.”

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