On April 5, Justice Revati Mohite Dere of the Bombay High Court granted interim transit bail till May 2, 2018 to Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand. As per the orders of the Hon’ble Court, Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand appeared before the Ahmedabad Crime Branch at 10 a.m. on April 6. Both gave their statements in response to all the questions put to them until after 5 p.m.
Both responded to the best of their knowledge to the questions put to them by a team of investigating officers led by ACP CN Rajput. Besides the oral statements they also handed over to the IO many documents which they had carried with them to Ahmedabad. The IO asked for certain other documents which will be provided within the next 15 days. A list of the documents submitted and to be submitted can be viewed here:
Among the documents submitted were four (4) ‘Utilisation Certificates’ issued by the auditors of Sabrang Trust. The Utilisation Certificates were a financial report detailing the amounts received in three (3) installments received by Sabrang Trust from the HRD Ministry during the grant period.The amounts received were: (i) Rs. 58,72,500 (ii) Rs. 26,66,750 and (iii) Rs. 54,20,848. A detailed ‘Activities Report’ accompanied by a Utilisation Certificate detailing all the payments made out of the grant received was submitted each time before the next installment was released by the ministry. As reflected in the last and fourth Utilisation Certificate, an amount of Rs. 5,91,871 remained un-utilised at the end of the Project Period. The same was duly returned to the Ministry.
As detailed in the Schedules to the Receipts & Payments, expenses were incurred under 7 budget heads as per the original Project Proposal (KHOJ programme for schools in Maharashtra ) approved by the Grants-in-Aid Committee (GIAC) appointed by the ministry’s Department of School Education and Literacy for grants under “Innovative and Experimental Education Programme”.
The budget heads: (1) Project Staff Costs (2) Development/Distribution of Learning Materials (3) Training of Nw Staff (4) Children’s Libraries (5) Meetings/Seminars/Workshops (6) Infrastructure Expenses (7) Administration Expenses.
Under Project Staff costs, as Project Director, Teesta Setalvad received an Honorarium between Rs. 20,000 p.m. in year one and Rs. 21,600 p.m. in the last year of the KHOJ project for schools in Mumbai and Maharashtra. Under Administration Expenses, as Project Administrator, Javed Anand received an Honorarium between Rs. 20,000 p.m. in year one and Rs. 21,600 p.m. in the last year of the KHOJ project.
Neither Teesta Setalvad nor Javed Anand received even a rupee for discharging their duties as Trustee of Sabrang Trust.
A Brief Background of how Rais Khan has been harassing Setalvad and Anand
Rais Khan, a disgruntled ex-employee of Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), has filed an FIR against Setalvad alleging that Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand used fraudulent means to get funds to the tune of Rs 1.4 crores from the Ministry of Human Resource Development under the UPA Government.
Khan has, since 2010, thirty two months after he was discontinued from services of field coordinator of CJP, a renumerative post where rental accommodation was also provided, literally been forum shopping and at the root of several malicious and false cases against first Setalvad alone, then both Anand and Setalvad. Setalvad was first targeted in 2004 through wings of the Gujarat state who induced star witness, Zahira Shaikh. A Supreme Court appointed Registrar General report completely exonerated Setalvad and CJP of baseless charges and found Zahira guilty of inducement by influential politicians. She was sentenced to one year simple imprisonment in 2006. Allegations against Setalvad have ranged from kidnapping to perjury now financial embezzlement.
Clearly, today Khan who enjoys the patronage of the regime in Delhi having been appointed to the Central Wakf Board also has senior counsel closely associated with the ruling party appearing for him. Since September 2010 his forum shopping has meant him approaching five trial courts specially hearing the Gujarat 2002 cases, the Nanavaty Shah Commission, the SIT and now the Crime Branch of the Gujarat police. In two judgments, in the Sardarpura matter and the Naroda Patiya matter, the judgments have passed remarks against Khan labelling his conduct as interference in the administration of justice.
Clearly the path-breaking work by CJP, spearheaded by its Secretary, Setalvad that has ensured the conviction of 172 persons — 124 of which to life imprisonment– is the single most significant reason for her being singled out by a vindictive regime. The continued historical legal battle in the form of the Zakia Jafri case too, is a serious thorn in the flesh for the powers that be.
Khan has now, in a new FIR, made a series of baseless allegations suggesting Setalvad and Anand got this funds for their education NGO KHOJ under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, but the funds so obtained were utilised for personal purposes. The complaint also states the fund were used for creating and distributing printed materials that could cause communal disharmony. Khan first tried to get CBI, then MHRD to lodge this complaint. When that did not work, his allies in the crime branch have come to his aid.
So far, Teesta Setalvad, a human rights defenders with three decades of courageous work behind her, has had to seek anticipatory bail in false criminal cases eight times already. Curtailing her personal freedoms and threatened incarceration is clearly the preferred way of this regime. Anand too, has now been falsely implicated three times.
CJP’s Official Statement on the harassment may be read here