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Setalvad case: How can grant of anticipatory bail & liberty to cops to seek custody co-exist: SC

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The Monday expressed surprised that the High Court granted to and her husband in an alleged NGO fund embezzlement case and simultaneously gave liberty to police to seek their custody if they do not cooperate in the probe.

"If investigating is given liberty for (seeking) police custody and is granted, can they co-exist? The moment the investigating gets police custody, the goes," said a bench headed by

The bench, also comprising justices and Sanjiv Khanna, said it was asking a question to itself as to whether such an order can be passed.

"How do you prey for police remand? We are asking it to ourselves. How do you seek police remand," the bench observed.

The remarks were made during the hearing of the two separate petitions against a singular judgement of February 8 of the high court.

During the hearing when senior advocates Chander and Huzefa Ahmadi, appearing for the couple, submitted that the direction that prosecution can seek police remand be stayed, the bench said "then we will also stay the anticipatory bail".

Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Police, said there are other matters pending in the apex court relating to Setalvad and her husband and all those can be heard together.

Taking note of the submission, the bench issued notice on the cross-appeals in the case and tagged them with the matter in which the couple is accused of embezzlement of funds collected for the victims of the riots of society in Ahmedabad.

Setalvad and her husband in the past had denied all allegations contending that they have been targeted by the for fighting the cause of the victims of post-Godhra riots.

The apex court on Monday was dealing with the case in which FIR was registered on March 31, 2018 against Setalvad and her husband for allegedly securing central government funds worth Rs 1.4 crore "fraudulently" for their NGO Sabrang between 2010 and 2013.

While allowing their anticipatory bail plea, Justice J B Pardiwala of the high court on February 8 had directed Setalvad and Anand to cooperate with the probe and appear before the investigating agency, the city crime branch.

The had also said the can approach the court to get their bail cancelled if the couple does not cooperate in the investigation.

The case was filed against Setalvad and Sabrang trustees by Ahmedabad Crime Branch on the basis of a complaint lodged by her former close associate Raees Khan Pathan, who has accused that the grant for educational purposes was allegedly misused and materials were printed and distributed that could cause communal disharmony.

Pathan had alleged that Setalvad and tried to "mix religion with politics" and were spreading disharmony through the curricular material prepared for the erstwhile which had given it a grant of about Rs 1.4 crore.

The complaint had taken into account the report of a panel of the which in its finding has claimed that a prima facie case existed against her under section 153A and 153B of the IPC for promoting enmity on grounds of religion and making imputations and assertions, prejudicial to the national integration.

Pathan had alleged that a large amount from the HRD funding was used during 2008-14 on 'Khoj' project of the under the scheme of 'National Policy on Education' in and as well as on the 'and conflict resolution' project. The project was launched by Setalvad's NGO in some districts of and Gujarat.

The case will now be heard along with the other case in which has filed an affidavit in the apex court alleging that the funds collected by them for setting up of a museum in memory of the riots victims of was spent on personal use.

Setalvad and her husband in the past had denied all allegations contending that they have been targeted by the for fighting the cause of the victims of post-Godhra riots.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, March 11 2019. 20:56 IST