In Gujarat Riots Case, Ex Police Chief RB Sreekumar Granted Interim Bail

Justice Ilesh J Vora allowed RB Sreekumar, in custody since his arrest by the city crime branch on June 25, to be enlarged on the interim bail till November 15 on a personal bond of Rs 10,000.

The High Court was also hearing the regular bail plea of Teesta Setalvad. (File)

Ahmedabad:

The Gujarat High Court on Wednesday granted interim bail till November 15 to former state DGP RB Sreekumar, arrested along with activist Teesta Setalvad, for alleged fabrication of evidence in connection with the 2002 communal riots cases.

Justice Ilesh J Vora allowed RB Sreekumar, in custody since his arrest by the city crime branch on June 25, to be enlarged on the interim bail till November 15 on a personal bond of Rs 10,000.

Mr Sreekumar's counsel submitted that he may be granted the relief in view of his age and considering that the charge sheet has been filed. He also told the high court that the applicant intends to file a fresh application before the trial court concerned.

The High Court was also hearing the regular bail plea of Teesta Setalvad, another accused in the case of the alleged fabrication of evidence.

Hearing her bail plea, the High Court directed the trial court to hand over the papers of the charge sheet filed by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) on September 21 to Teesta Setalvad's lawyer and kept the matter for further hearing on November 15.

Teesta Setalvad was released on interim bail by the Supreme Court on September 2.

The single-judge bench directed RB Sreekumar to deposit his passport within a week of his release from jail. He was also given the liberty to file a fresh bail application before the concerned court.

Opposing the relief to RB Sreekumar, the public prosecutor said considering the role attributed to him in the alleged offence, no case is made out for granting interim bail.

A sessions court in Ahmedabad on July 30 rejected bail applications of Teesta Setalvad and RB Sreekumar, who were arrested on June 25.

The SIT on September 21 filed a charge sheet against Teesta Setalvad, RB Sreekumar and another accused in the case, former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt.

Sanjiv Bhatt continues to remain in jail at Palanpur in the Banaskantha district of Gujarat where he is serving a life sentence in a custodial death case.

A case was registered against Teesta Setalvad, RB Sreekumar, and Sanjiv Bhatt under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) related to forgery, besides sections 194 (fabricating false evidence to procure capital offence), 211 (to institute criminal proceeding while knowing there is no just ground for it), 218 (public servant framing incorrect record) and 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy).

The trio was accused of conspiracy "to abuse the process of law by fabricating false evidence to make several persons to having committed an offence that is punishable with capital punishment".

Teesta Setalvad was accused of trying to create false cases against the then Gujarat chief minister (Narendra Modi), his cabinet colleagues, and senior BJP leaders, and conspiring to fabricate evidence against them to establish their involvement in the riot cases of February 28, 2002, and others.

The FIR was registered against the trio by the Ahmedabad crime branch, days after the Supreme Court dismissed the plea filed by Zakia Jafri, in June.

Zakia Jafri had alleged a "larger conspiracy" behind the 2002 post-Godhra riots in Gujarat, but the top court upheld the clean chit given by the SIT to PM Modi and 63 others.

The top court had said there was no "title of material" to support the allegation that violence after the Godhra incident was a "pre-planned event" owing to the conspiracy hatched at the highest level in the state.

Zakia Jafri's husband Ehsan Jafri was among the 68 people killed at Ahmedabad's Gulberg Society during violence that erupted on February 28, 2002, a day after 59 people were killed in the Godhra train burning incident.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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