It seems Shashikant Patil, an accused in the Gujarat riots cases of 2002, who has been in jail for the last eight years, was right in filing a case of perjury against Teesta Setalvad, who heads the NGO, Citizen for Peace and Justice.
For Rais Khan, a former colleague of Setalvad, alleged that Teesta prepared numerous affidavits without the knowledge of witnesses. Khan, who worked as field co-ordinator with the CJP from 2002 to 2008, filed last week an eight-page affidavit before the Nanavati commission, which is probing the Godhra riots. In the affidavit, Khan said that payment to victims was not Setalvad’s priority, but paying the witnesses was important for her. While witnesses were paid between Rs50,000 and Rs1 lakh, many victims got only Rs5,000 each. “I used to take proper receipts from the victims and witnesses on plain paper”, he says.
Shashikant Patil approached the Supreme Court on October 26th, seeking prosecution of Setalvad on this very charge of perjury. Like Khan, Patil has accused Setalvad of procuring various false and fabricated affidavits to convince the apex court that investigation and trial in the matters referred to Special Investigation Team (SIT) was not proper and sufficient. In the application, Patil states that Setalvad cooked up the story and, for instance, made an alleged rape victim of the riot to file a false affidavit before the apex court, which she denied in her statement before SIT on May 20, 2009, that she was raped.
He asserted that pertaining to the incidents of Naroda Gam and Naroda Patiya, six other persons filed affidavits having the “same language on November 15, 2003, making vague allegations of rape, mutilation and murder at the behest of Setalvad.” “The respondent (Setalvad) has thus committed the offence of fabricating false evidence, which is a serious obstruction of justice and punishable under the aforementioned provisions,” the application said.
Patil sought investigation against her for offences punishable under Sections 192 (fabricating false evidence), 193 (punishment for false evidence), 194 (giving or fabricating false evidence with intent to procure conviction of capital offences)- and 195 of Indian Penal Code.
Khan and Patil are not the only ones to accuse Teesta Setalvad of perjury: former CBI director R K Raghavan had told the Supreme Court that the celebrated rights activist made up macabre tales of wanton killings. “Many incidents of killings and violence were cooked up, false charges were levelled against then police chief P C Pandey and false witnesses were tutored to give evidence about imaginary incidents”, he said in a report submitted before a Bench comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat, P Sathasivam and Aftab Alam.
The SIT itself, referring to the infamous Gulbarg Society case (police officer Pandey, instead of taking measures to protect people facing the wrath of rioters, has been accused of fuelling the mob), stated that the truth was that he was helping with hospitalisation of riot victims and making arrangements for police bandobast. Another report said that 22 witnesses, who had submitted identical affidavits before various courts relating to riot incidents, were questioned by the SIT which found that they had been tutored and handed over the affidavits by Setalvad and that they had not actually witnessed the riot incidents.
The SIT also found no truth in the following incidents widely publicised by Teesta Setalvad:
* A pregnant Muslim woman Kausar Banu was gangraped by a mob, who then gouged out the foetus with sharp weapons
* Dumping of dead bodies into a well by rioteers at Naroda Patiya
* Police botching up investigation into the killing of British nationals, who were on a visit to Gujarat and unfortunately got caught in the riots
Report said: “On a reading of the report, it is clear that horrendous allegations made by the NGOs were false.
What is surprising that all this while, the Indian media turned a blind eye to Teesta Setalvad’s lies, only highlighting the 2002 Gujarat riots, carefully omitting the fact that they were triggered by the cruel murdering of 57 Hindus, 36 of them innocent women and children, burnt like animals in the Sabarmati Express
Is it logical that only Mr Modi was targeted when he was Chief Minister of Gujarat and Teesta allowed to go scot-free? But who went down in the streets in fury in 2002? Hundreds, if not thousands of Gujaratis, not only from the lower strata of society, not only Dalits, but also middle class, and sometimes even upper middle class! Should they also not be judged and condemned? But then it would be the whole of Gujarat who should be hauled to court, an ancient and noble race, who gave so much to India, including Mahatma Gandhi, and today is still exporting all over the world its upright and successful businessmen, to the US, for instance, where they own most of the motels. Nobody dares do that; it’s much each easier to target Mss Modi and Shah.
Teesta Setalvad keeps accusing the Gujarat police of ‘fake ecounters’. But the dreaded Khalistan movement was quelled in the 80’s by super cop KPS Gill in a ruthless manner by a number of such ‘fake encounters’ which killed top Sikh separatists. This was done under a Congress Government, both at the Center and in Punjab. Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister then. Why was he never indicted? Why are Modi Shah and others haunted like criminals, while those responsible for the riots against Sikhs in 1984 are hardly hassled at all? The Media should ask this very question.
The truth is that it was not good to be a Hindu under #Sonia Gandhi. No, it was better to be a Teesta Setalvad, who unashamedly lied to the highest courts of India. Or even a terrorist, a murderer and a smuggler, like Sohrabuddin, from whose house in M.P., 40 AK-47 Rifles, as well as number of grenades and bullets were confiscated, who was declared ” Wanted” in five States of India and against whom 40 crime cases were registered.