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Teesta Setalvad gets interim bail in 2002 Gujarat riots case

Teesta Setalvad was granted interim bail by the Supreme Court on Friday in connection with the 2002 Gujarat riots case.

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Activist Teesta Setalvad was arrested in June in connection with the 2002 Gujarat riots
Activist Teesta Setalvad was arrested in June in connection with the 2002 Gujarat riots

By Aneesha Mathur: Activist Teesta Setalvad was granted interim bail by the Supreme Court on Friday in connection with the 2002 Gujarat riots case.Teesta Setalvad is accused of drafting false statements of witnesses and submitting them before the Nanavati commission set up to investigate the riots.

Granting interim bail to Teesta Setalvad, the Supreme Court asked her to render complete cooperation with the investigation. The Supreme Court also asked Teesta Setalvad to surrender her passport till the regular bail matter is considered by the high court.

WHAT IS THE CASE?

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Teesta Setalvad had filed an appeal in the Supreme court challenging the orders by the sessions court and the high court denying interim bail to her.

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Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Teesta Setalvad, argued that the FIR registered against her was nothing but recitation of the proceedings which ended with the judgement of the Supreme Court on June 24.

Kapil Sibal said that Teesta Setalvad has been in custody for over two months and is entitled to interim bail during pendency of the substantive application pending before the high court.

Appearing for the Gujarat government, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that there is sufficient material apart from what has been adverted in the FIR pointing towards involvement of Teesta Setalvad. Tushar Mehta argued that the application preferred by Teesta Setalvad is presently pending consideration before the high court. As such the matter must be allowed to be considered by the high court, the solicitor general argued.

After hearing both sides' argument, the Supreme Court said, “The essential ingredients of the investigation, including custodial interrogation, having been completed, the matter assume a complexion where the relief of interim bail till the matter was considered by the high court was evidently made out.”

"In our view, the appellant is entitled to release on interim bail. It must be stated that as argued by Solicitor General the matter is still pending consideration before high court. We are therefore not considering whether appellant be released on bail or not. That issue is to be considered by the high court. We are considering only from the standpoint whether the custody of the appellant must be insisted upon during the consideration of matter.

The Supreme Court said that the matter has been considered only from the standpoint of interim bail and the court shall not be taken to have expressed anything on the merits of the submission advanced on behalf of the appellant.

"The entire matter on merits shall be considered by the High Court independently and uninfluenced by any observations made by this court," the Supreme Court said on Friday.

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