Gujarat cops: Activist Teesta Setalvad committed ‘colossal fraud’

The police said Teesta and her husband "misappropriated" funds meant for charity for personal expenses ranging from wine, earbuds to expensive mobile phone besides tampering with evidence.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: July 23, 2015 10:13 am
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Seeking permission for arrest and custodial interrogation of social activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand, the Gujarat police has requested the Supreme Court to modify its order on protecting the couple from arrest so that the full extent of their “crimes against charity can be unearthed.” In an additional affidavit filed in response to an anticipatory bail plea moved by Teesta and her husband, the police contended that the couple committed “colossal fraud” and “dishonestly misappropriated” funds meant for the 2002 Gujarat riots victims.

Teesta’s petition is likely to come up for hearing before a three-judge bench on August 10. A two-judge bench had in March referred the bail plea to a larger bench while extending protection from arrest to the couple.

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The police have claimed that the money, collected for constructing a memorial for the riots victims and for their aid, was spent by the couple for personal expenses ranging from wine and liquor, expensive mobile phones, movie CDs, romantic novels, hair-styling, dining etc.

The police said Setalvad and Anand as trustees of two trusts — Sabrang Trust and Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) — have by “diverse methods” allegedly “misappropriated the funds of charity and converted to their own use funds meant for the rehabilitation and welfare of the unfortunate victims of riots in Gujarat in Feb-March 2002”.

It said the probe into the case of alleged embezzlement of funds for a museum at Gulbarg Society, devastated in the 2002 riots, revealed that expenses of “very personal nature” have been debited by them under the heads “Secular Education” and “Legal Aid Expenses”.

The investigation revealed that Setalvad claimed reimbursement towards purchase of sanitary napkins in the name of medical expense and “surprisingly” her husband too claimed reimbursement for it, as per the affidavit.

The affidavit said 45 per cent of total funds received by Sabrang Trust in 2008-13 have gone to Setalvad and her husband either directly or through Sabrang Communications Pvt Limited (SCPPL), which was fully owned by them. The affidavit stated that Teesta drew a salary of Rs 8.75 lakh and that she flew 113 times in a year. “The inescapable conclusion is that the entire amount paid by Sabrang Trust to SCPPL has been siphoned by petitioner under the guise of cash withdrawal and cheque payments. SCPPL is a vehicle used by the petitioners for the purpose of siphoning donations to the Sabrang Trust,” it said.

The police also contested the couple’s argument that the Gujarat Police was hounding them. “Limited documents furnished by the petitioners unambiguously disclose the patent fraud on their part and expose their protestations as being hollow,” said the affidavit.

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  1. S
    Saradha Sankar
    Jul 22, 2015 at 4:24 pm
    It is an open secret that most NGOs misuse the funds for their personal use.Running an NGO has become a lucrative business for some.The govt should ensure that they are brought under a separate audit body similar to the CAG to ensure that they scrupulously follow the objectives and prevent misuse of funds
    Reply
    1. T
      TIHAEwale
      Jul 23, 2015 at 7:40 am
      We know how Gujrat police planted evidenced and staged encounters and it is the state which had maximum IAS, IPS officials under judicial custody
      Reply
      1. I
        Idikkula Nair
        Jul 22, 2015 at 10:49 pm
        Overall, it seems that the case is silly.
        Reply
        1. A
          Anuradha Kalhan
          Jul 22, 2015 at 5:30 pm
          The kind of things Teesta and her husband seem to have spent the money they are supposed to have embezzled is so trivial, so ridiculous. Seems like a middle cl homes grocery bills have been pulled out! This is pure harment of the couple and it will blow up in the face of this government here and internationally!
          Reply
          1. A
            avi
            Jul 23, 2015 at 3:40 am
            What a shameless way of funding a luxurious lifestyle in the name of charity !!! No wonder people have developed donor fatigue after reading such high profile cases of looting for self interest.
            Reply
            1. B
              Bijan Mohanty
              Jul 22, 2015 at 9:06 pm
              Gujarat police is telling white lies.The police simply says what Modi desires.
              Reply
              1. B
                Bijan Mohanty
                Jul 22, 2015 at 11:31 pm
                The quality of your language shows how much national and patriotic you are ???
                Reply
                1. C
                  ckm
                  Jul 23, 2015 at 7:03 am
                  Police claims, particularly GJ police claims must be taken with a bucketfull of salt.
                  Reply
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