An Ahmedabad sessions court on July 30 denied bail to activist Teesta Setalvad and former Gujarat Director General of Police (DGP) RB Sreekumar saying it appeared that they used victim Zakia Jafri as "a tool" to defame then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, by accusing his government of sponsoring the 2002 Godhra Riots.
The sessions court said Setalvad and Sreekumar intended to defame Gujarat in the country and globally with the "ulterior motive" to obtain "monetary benefit" from "one political faction".
The court observed that by granting bail to Setalvad and Sreekumar, "it would impliedly encourage to the wrong does that in-spite of doing such type of accusations against the then C.M. and others, the Court has lightly enlarged the accused on bail (sic)".
"There is no need to give detail and elaborate reasons for the same, if I do so, then it will adversely affect the right of the parties as well as investigation and it amounts to evaluate the evidence without the trial," the additional principal judge observed.
The Gujarat police arrested Setalvad and Sreekumar for allegedly giving false information pertaining to the 2002 Gujarat riots case. This was a day after the Supreme Court, on June 24, upheld the clean chit to the then Narendra Modi government for allegedly conspiring to orchestrate the communal violence. The top court gave its judgment on Jafri's plea — challenging the clean chit in December 2021 — after hearing the matter in detail. Jafri's husband Congress leader Ahsaan Jafri was killed during the Gujarat communal riots.
Former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt—the third accused in the FIR—was the Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence in the state Intelligence Bureau during the 2002 Gujarat Riots. Bhatt is currently serving a life sentence in a custodial death case.
Setalvad, Sreekumar, and Bhatt have moved the Gujarat High Court for bail. In her plea, Setalvad claimed she was being victimised for seeking justice for the victims of sectarian violence.