I fear for my life: Teesta Setalvad allegedly roughed up by Gujarat ATS personnel

Police barged into her home and allegedly assaulted her; Setalvad arrested from Mumbai and taken to Ahmedabad Crime branch

Teesta Setalvad

On Saturday afternoon, a unit of the Gujarat Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) barged into the ancestral bungalow of human rights defender and secretary of Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) Teesta Setalvad. The ATS personnel detained her on trumped up charges, that appear to have materialised just a day after the Supreme Court’s judgment in the Zakia Jafri case. 

Setalvad says she was roughed up as she was picked up from her Mumbai home and taken to the Santacruz police station, where she was placed under arrest. At present she is being taken to the Ahmedabad Crime Branch by road. 

At about 5:30 P.M, just before being whisked away to Ahmedabad, Setalvad filed a handwritten complaint with the Santacruz Police Station saying, “I fear for my life.” In her complaint, Setalvad named Police Inspector JH Patel of the ATS Ahmedabad and said that he and a lady officer in civil clothes came into her bedroom and assaulted her when she demanded to speak to her lawyer. In her complaint, Setalvad has also stated that the assault left her with a bruise on her left hand, and that she was not shown the First Information Report (FIR) or a warrant till her lawyer arrived. 

A copy of her complaint may be read here:

Teeta page1


 The timing of Setalvad’s arrest is curious, given it comes just a day after the Supreme Court had dismissed a plea by Zakia Jafri, the widow of slain Congress Member of Parliament (MP) Ehsan Jafri. Ehsan Jafri had been killed during the communal violence in Gulberg Society during the 2002 Gujarat carnage. In the ensuing years Zakia Jafri had become the face of a mammoth litigation that pointed out lapses in the investigation carried out by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed to probe the case, and asked for an investigation into an alleged larger conspiracy behind the violence. 

But the court dismissed the plea, and in its judgment delivered on June 24, 2022, observed, “As a matter of fact, all those involved in such abuse of process, need to be in the dock ad proceeded with in accordance with law. 

The above extract was also quoted in a complaint filed on behalf of the State by Darshansinh B Barad, Police Inspector, Detection of Crime Branch, Ahmedabad City. In the complaint dated June 25, 2022, Barad asks for an FIR to be registered against Setalvad, former Gujarat Director General of Police (DGP) R.B Sreekumar and former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt under the following sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC): 

194 (Giving or fabricating false evidence with intent to procure conviction of capital offence) 

211 (False charge of offence made with intent to injure) 

218 (Public servant framing incorrect record or writing with intent to save person from punishment or property from forfei­ture) 

468 (Forgery for purpose of cheating) 

471 (Using as genuine a forged document or electronic record) 

Read with 120 B (Criminal Conspiracy) 

The State’s complaint says that Setalvad, Sreekumar and Bhatt conspired to malign the reputation of senior Gujarat government officials as well as the Special investigation Team (SIT) formed to investigate the communal violence of 2002. The trumped up charges against Setalvad include conspiracy to fabricate facts and documents, tutor witnesses and bring about a malicious prosecution against the alleged perpetrators of the conspiracy behind the 2002 Gujarat communal violence. 

It is noteworthy that even when the SLP was being heard by the Supreme Court in December 2021, an elaborate smear campaign was launched against Teesta Setalvad where several past allegations were also dug up again. Details may be read here. 

Setalvad is being targeted today as part of an elaborate witch hunt. In fact, many international publications have also vouched for her in their reports including those by New York TimesBBC as also organisations like Frontline Defenders. That aside, even courts of law have from time to time found no merit in allegations of Setalvad ‘tutoring’ any witnesses in the cases and have even granted reliefs in the cases she was hounded by which included false allegations of embezzlement of funds.

 We sincerely urge friends of CJP, civil society, activists and journalists to come together to demand justice for Teesta Setalvad.



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