Supreme Court paves way for investigation over ‘false evidence’ by Teesta Setalvad, others

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New Delhi: On wednesday, the Supreme Court paved the way to investigate into the fabrication of evidence in a 2002 post-Godhra riot case on the allegation by social activist Teesta Setalvad’s former close aide Rais Khan Pathan against her.

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The NGO of Setalvad ,Citizen for Justice and Peace (CJP) challenged the decision of the Gujarat High Court upholding a magisterial court order for a probe against Pathan and others. The apex court on 2 September, 2011 during the pendency of their appeal, had stayed the high court’s order of giving green signal for probe against Pathan and others for allegedly fabricating evidence in the Naroda Gam riots case.

A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and M M Shantanagoudar today, disposed of their appeal by granting liberty to them for raising their grievances before the appropriate courts below the top court. While PTI Reported that, with the disposal of Setalvad’s petition, the stay on the High Court’s order stands vacated.

The Senior Counsel Kapil Sibal, appearing for CJP and Setalvad questioned the procedure adopted by the trial court in directing the Gujarat Police to investigate the case.

Senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani, representing Pathan, told the bench that “CJP and Setalvad had no locus to challenge the high court’s order before the apex court and they have not yet been summoned by the trial court.”

On December 3, 2010 the additional session judges had directed to reject Pathan’s application and was seeking to be examined as a court or prosecution witness to “prove that some of the witnesses and victims had falsely implicated him in fabricating the evidence”.

He claimed he is the important person to expose how the victims and witnesses were tutored, cheated and made to sign false affidavits by Setalvad in the name of “interest of the community”. However, the sessions court had directed and authorised the registrar, City Civil and Sessions Court, Ahmedabad to make a complaint in writing for the offences under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against Pathan and others.

These relate to giving or fabricating false evidence with the intent to procure conviction of capital offence, imprisonment for life or imprisonment for seven years or upwards and also knowing it to be false, among others.

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On January 10, 2011, the registrar had filed a criminal complaint against Pathan and others in metropolitan magistrate court in Ahmedabad which directed the assistant commissioner of police there to inquire and investigate the matter and submit a report.

On July 11, 2011 the order was challenged before the high court which declined to interfere with the police probe, but clarified that “basically the aforesaid police investigation would be with respect to unnamed accused persons who are yet to be traced and whose names are yet to be disclosed during the course of investigation”.

The trial in the Naroda Gam case is at the final stage and Pathan have not challenged any of findings or observation made against him that a prima facie case was made out for the various offences under the IPC.

Sources : Hindustan Times

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