Gujarat Riots Case: Gujarat ex-DGP R B Sreekumar granted interim bail by Gujarat HC

Sreekumar allowed to make fresh application for regular bail; Teesta Setalvad’s bail plea adjourned, to be heard along with Sreekumar’s on November 15

Rb Sreekumar

On September 28, 2022, the Gujarat High Court granted retired DGP RB Sreekumar temporary release till November 15, 2022. The court also gave him permission to seek a regular release in connection with accusations of “fabricating evidence related to the riots of 2002” and make an application before the sessions court. The Gujarat High Court further said that it will hear Sreekumar’s case together with Setalvad’s on November 15 while granting interim bail to Sreekumar. Sreekumar is likely to be released on Thursday. Setalvad has also been extended interim protection by the Gujarat HC until November 15 when the matter will be heard.

On September 20, the state had submitted its chargesheet in this controversial case that saw the dramatic arrests of Sreekumar and Setalvad on June 25 Although Sreekumar had requested bail before the high court prior to the chargesheet’s filing, the court advised Sreekumar’s advocate Yogesh Ravani to receive instructions if Sreekumar preferred to request bail before the sessions court due to the altered circumstances that have arisen since the chargesheet’s filing. According to their instructions, the took the option of getting interim protection from the High Court and will be approaching the Sessions Court with a fresh bail application.

Meanwhile, Teesta Setalvad, a Mumbai-based human rights activist, had her bail plea postponed by Justice Ilesh Vora’s court till November 15. The Supreme Court awarded her interim protection on September 2. The court further instructed the court to provide Setalvad’s counsel access to the chargesheet upon making the proper request. The senior advocates representing Setalvad, Mihir Thakore, Mihir Desai, and advocate S M Vatsa, stated in court that they had not yet gotten a copy of the chargesheet.

According to a FIR filed by the Ahmedabad Detection of Crime Branch (DCB) section, the retired DGP, Teesta Setalvad and former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt were detained on June 25 on suspicion of “plotting to falsely accuse innocent people in relation to the riots that occurred in Gujarat in 2002”. The FIR quoted the Supreme Court order from a day earlier, upholding the clean chit by the SIT to then CM Modi in the 2002 riots, saying it “clearly establishes that Sanjiv Bhatt, R B Sreekumar, Teesta Setalvad and others had conspired to abuse the process of law by fabricating false evidence to make several persons to be convicted for an offence that is punishable with capital punishment”.

On July 30, an Ahmedabad sessions court denied bail to Sreekumar and activist Teesta Setalvad. The Ahmedabad Sessions Court, while denying their request for bail, stated that to do otherwise “would implicitly encourage the wrongdoers that in-spite of doing such type of accusations against the then C.M. (Narendra Modi) and others, the Court has lightly enlarged the accused on bail.”

While Setalvad later petitioned the Gujarat High Court and then the Supreme Court for relief, the latter of which granted her temporary release on bail on September 2, Sreekumar remained imprisoned.

The family of co-accused R B Sreekumar had expressed “hope” after the Supreme Court had granted activist Teesta Setalvad interim release following accusations that she had fabricated evidence in connection with the 2002 Gujarat riots. Teesta Setalvad was accused of falsifying evidence. “The ruling offers us a lot of optimism,” said Deepa Srijith, the daughter of the former Gujarat DGP.

The Gujarat High Court had decided to schedule Setalvad’s bail hearing for September 19, nearly six weeks after it had given notice. While granting Teesta bail, the Supreme Court questioned whether this was “standard practice in Gujarat” and inquired of the state government, “What kind of material have you gathered in the last two months” against her. The Supreme Court said further that co-accused in the case shall not take advantage of the relief granted to her. “It is further made clear that the relief of interim bail is granted to the appellant in the peculiar facts, including the fact that she happens to be a lady. This shall not be taken to be a reflection and shall not be used by other accused, as and when such occasions arise. The submissions of the accused shall be considered purely on their own merits.”


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