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Setalvad in dock for 'cooking up killings'

Setalvad in dock for 'cooking up killings'

Author: Bureau
Publication: The Economic Times
Date: April 14, 2009
URL: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/News/PoliticsNation/Setalvad-in-dock-for-cooking-up-killings/articleshow/4397849.cms

The Narendra Modi baiters among NGOs on Monday suffered a major setback when a Supreme Court-appointed special investigation team (SIT) charged a leading activist, Teesta Setalvad, with adding morbidity into the post-Godhra riots in Gujarat by "cooking up macabre tales of killings".

SIT headed by former CBI director R K Raghavan said "many incidents were cooked up, false witnesses were tutored to give evidence about imaginary incidents, and false charges levelled against the then Ahmedabad police chief P C Pandey".

Sit report, which was submitted before a bench comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat, P Sathasivam and Aftab Alam, said there was no truth in some of the major allegations levelled by NGOs. According to the report, the untruths included:

A pregnant Muslim woman Kausar Banu was gangraped by a mob, who then with sharp weapons gouged out the foetus; Dumping of dead bodies into a well by rioters at Narora Patiya; and n Police botching up investigation into the killing of British nationals who were on a visit to Gujarat.

SIT also said the charge that Mr Pandey was helping mob that attacked the Gulbarga Society was untrue. "The truth was that he was helping hospitalisation of riot victims and making arrangement of police bandobast," senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi said.

Mr Rohatgi also told the court that 22 witnesses, who had submitted identical affidavits before various courts relating to riot incidents, were questioned by SIT. "It was found that they were tutored. The affidavits were handed over to them by Ms Setalvad. They had not actually witnessed the riot," the counsel said.

The Supreme Court lauded the work of SIT and said there should be no room for allegations and counter-allegations. "In the riot cases, the more the delay there is likelihood of falsity creeping in. So there should be a designated court to fast track trials. Riot cases should be given priority," the Bench said and sought suggestions from the Centre, Gujarat government and NGOs.

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