SC notice to Teesta Setalvad, her husband on CBI plea

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice to social activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand on a CBI petition.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has alleged that Sabrang Communications and Publishing Pvt. Ltd., run by Teesta, received foreign grants from Ford Foundation which were prohibited under then Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).

Issuing notice to Teesta and Anand, the apex court bench of Justice Anil R. Dave, Justice F.M.I. Kalifulla and Justice V. Gopala Gowda extended till December 8 the bail granted to Teesta and Anand. The two have accused of misuse of funds collected by their NGO Sabrang Trust for setting up a museum at Gulbarga Society which witnessed one of the worst carnages during 2002 Gujarat riots.

NGO Sabrang Trust is run by the Teesta and Anand and the apex court on February 19 had restrained Gujarat Police from arresting them. Gujarat Police wanted to subject the couple to custodial interrogation.

Directing the matter be listed on December 1, the court said that Teesta Setalvad would file her response to the CBI plea in four weeks and the CBI would file its rejoinder, if any, thereafter.

The CBI has challenged the August 11, 2015, Bombay High Court order granting anticipatory bail to Teesta and Anand,a dn held that the documents being sought by the CBI relate to accounts and therefore it does not require custodial interrogation and both were unlikely to flee the country.

The CBI on Wednesday sought the vacation of the high court order granting interim bail to Teesta, and alleged that she was not cooperating with the investigating agency probing the allegation.

Seeking revocation of the anticipatory bail to Teesta and Anand, Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar told the apex court that even the high court had come to the conclusion that prima facie the couple were in breach of the FCRA.

However, senior counsel Kapil Sibal appearing for Teesta contested the submission by Solicitor General, saying that funds that came from Ford Foundation were not grants but a part of the contract with Sabrang Communications and Publishing Pvt. Ltd. and the TDS for the same was deducted and deposited with the tax authorities.

The court witnessed some passionate moments when meeting the contention by senior counsel Mahesh Jethmalani, senior counsel Dushyant Dave told the court that Teesta was being targeted because she had raised her voice for the victims of 2002 post-Godhra Gujarat riots.