Court Asks SIT to Probe Allegations Against Teesta

Court Asks SIT to Probe Allegations Against Teesta
A special court, hearing the 2002 Gulburg society riot case, today asked the Special Investigation Team to probe the allegation by Rais Khan, former coordinator of NGO Center for Justice and Peace (CJP), against social activist Teesta Setalvad.

The order was passed by designated judge B U Joshi, after Khan filed an affidavit saying he should be examined as a witness. Khan claimed that he could throw light on some facts of the case on how the witnesses were "tutored, cheated and made to sign false affidavits" by Setalvad who headed the NGO.

Yesterday, Khan filed a similar application in the 2002 Naroda gam riot case.

The court asked the Supreme Court-appointed SIT, probing the riot cases, to record statement of Khan on the affidavits, applications and statements of witnesses in the Gulburg case.

It also asked SIT to investigate Khan's statement and submit report in court by November 18.

The court said at a time when witnesses related to the Gulburg case have been examined and cross-examined at length, if somebody wanted to give more evidence, it should be taken into consideration as it could help in deciding the case.

In his application, Khan said, "I am an important link which can throw light on how the victims and witnesses were tutored, cheated and made to sign false affidavits by Teesta Setalvad in the name of 'interest of community'".

Khan alleged that Zakia Jaffery, wife of slain former MP Ehsan Jaffery, who was among the 69 killed in the Gulburg society riots in 2002, had lied in the court about not taking legal help from Setalvad or him.

"I correctly remember that Zakia took help of Setalvad in her entire legal battle and in fact Zakia was heavily dependent on Teesta for every legal action and I was closely associated with all activities," Khan said in the affidavit.

Khan claimed that on the instruction of Setalvad, he had brought Vitthal Pandya, father of former Gujarat minister Haren Pandya, who was shot dead in March 2003, to Mumbai for a meeting with her.

During the meeting, it was decided that Vitthal will file a complaint against Narendra Modi government which will be prepared by CJP.

But Vitthal disapproved of the draft of the complaint saying that names of several people who were his friends, sympathizers and like his children were named as accused in the complaint which was incorrect, Khan said in the affidavit.

After Vitthal's refusal, it was decided that Zakia would file the complaint against Modi and others, he added.

Khan alleged that when witnesses of Gulburg society were called by the Nanavati Commission for examination, Setalvad had instructed him to "ensure they (witnesses) are not examined by the Commission".

"Hence, I immediately called all the witnesses and kept them in a flat in Shahalem, Ahmedabad. No one was allowed to go to the Commission," he added.
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