Teesta Setalvad conspired to defame the Gujarat government and worked to ensure then Chief Minister Narendra Modi was sentenced to death in connection with the 2002 post-Godhra riots, a chargesheet filed by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) alleged.
The 100-page-long chargesheet against Setalvad, former Director General of Police RB Sreekumar (Retd.) and former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjiv Bhatt was submitted before the Ahmedabad metro court in a case of alleged fabrication of evidence in connection with the riots.
According to the SIT, the accused allegedly plotted to get the death penalty for then Chief Minister Narendra Modi, the chargesheet claimed. Despite being a part of the government, RB Sreekumar and Sanjeev Bhatt made fake documents for Teesta and then added them to official entries, it said.
The accused wanted to end Narendra Modi’s political career and damage his reputation. For this, an army of lawyers was hired to prepare fake documents and affidavits, the chargesheet claimed.
Riot victims were manipulated and their signatures were forcibly taken on the fabricated statements. But since it was all in English, the victims could not understand what they signed off on, the SIT said, adding that the riot witnesses were threatened by Setalvad if they refused to support her.
The IPS officers, who are her co-accused in the case, would do her bidding. One time, RB Sreekumar even threatened a witness, the SIT claimed. “If you don’t support Teesta, Muslims will turn against you and you will be a target of the terrorists. If we start fighting among ourselves, the enemies will benefit and so will Modi,” Sreekumar allegedly told a witness, the team said in their chargesheet.
The accused allegedly took the riot victims outside Gujarat and collected millions in donations, pledging to ‘alleviate their pain’.
According to the SIT, Setalvad, along with several leaders of the Congress, went to camps put up for the riot-affected and misled them into believing that they would not get any justice in Gujarat. They even manipulated the victims to move their cases to courts outside the state and made them file documents to this effect, the team said.
Teesta was constantly in touch with Sanjiv Bhatt, who was in turn in touch with journalists, NGOs, and opposition leaders over e-mails, through which he would ask them to create pressure on the Amicus Curie, the court and other authorities, the SIT alleged.
The former IPS officer even kidnapped a witness who refused to sign an affidavit prepared by Setalvad and forcibly got the witness to sign the fake affidavit, it further claimed.
In the riots that followed the Godhra incident, 1,044 people were killed - the majority of them were Muslims, reported news agency PTI.