The fresh FIR lodged against retired DGP RB Sreekumar, former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt and activist Teesta Setalvad is based on extensive quotes from the SC verdict and its annexures, and mentions the period of “occurrence of the offence” between January 1, 2002, and June 25, 2022.
The burning of Sabarmati Express in which 59 persons, mostly kar sevaks returning from Ayodhya, died took place on February 27, 2002.
The FIR relies on the apex court’s observation that “all those involved in such abuse of process, need to be in the dock and proceeded with in accordance with the law”, and also cites verbatim several SIT submissions that were made before the Supreme Court on the accused in this case — Sreekumar, Bhatt and Setalvad.
The SC verdict, which included comments of amicus curiae in the case Raju Ramachandran by way of annexures to the judgment, notes that the annexures are “to be regarded as part of the judgment”. The annexures are basically an examination by Ramachandran of the inquiry report submitted by the SIT before the SC and his recommendations made in 2011.
For Sanjiv Bhatt’s role, the FIR notes that Bhatt, the then DIG had sent a letter dated December 30, 2011, to the secretary of Nanavati-Mehta Commission of Inquiry, which is a copy of fax message dated 28.02.2002, which he claimed to have sent to two different authorities under his signature.
This is also part of the annexures in the SC verdict, where it was stated, “Shri Sanjiv Bhatt, DIG (under suspension) has sent a letter dated 30.12.2011 to the Secretary, Hon’ble Justice Nanavati & Justice Mehta Commission of Inquiry enclosing herewith an Annexure ‘D’, which is a copy of fax message No. D-2 /2-COM I/ALERT /174/ 2002, dated 28.02.2002, which he claimed to have sent to different authorities under his signature…Subsequently, on 04.01.2012, Shri Sanjiv Bhatt forwarded to Chairman, SIT, a copy of his letter No. SRB/COI/120104/01 dated 04.01.2012 addressed to Secretary, Justice Nanavati Commission of Inquiry enclosing therewith a copy of fax message No.D-2/2- COM/ALERT /100/2002, dated 27.02.2002, claiming to have sent the same under his signature.”
The FIR also places reliance on SIT observations included in SC’s verdict, wherein the SIT had scrutinised material forwarded by Gujarat government. The SIT had concluded from the material, “From the study of emails, it appears that certain vested interests including Shri Sanjiv Bhatt, different NGOs and some political leaders were trying to use Hon’ble Supreme Court/SIT as a forum for settling their scores.” This, finds a verbatim mention in the FIR.
With respect to RB Sreekumar’s role, the FIR takes from SIT’s submission that said, “Further, he did not make any allegation against the state government in his initial two affidavits filed before the Commission, but started making allegations from third affidavit dated 9.4.2005.”
For Teesta Setalvad, the FIR again quotes from the SIT submission before the SC. The SIT had submitted, “Appellant –
Zakia Ahsan Jafri in her cross-examination in Gulberg Society case being CR No. 67/2002 as PW-337 had conceded that she knew Ms Teesta Setalvad for some time and also about having met Mr R B Sreekumar after the incident. She has stated that Mr R B Sreekumar had come to Gulberg Society on 28.2.2002 and upon completion of four years, she had met him. She had also stated that Mr R B Sreekumar was presently working with Ms Teesta Setalvad. She had also admitted in her cross-examination that she had given statement on 22.8.2003 before the Nanavati-Shah Commission and after giving that statement, she had no occasion to read copy of that statement. This was suggestive of the fact that she was tutored by Ms Teesta Setalvad, but she never disclosed about that…she had throughout followed the instructions of Ms Teesta Setalvad…In the final supplementary report filed by the SIT in Gulberg Society case being CR No. 67/2002, it has been clearly noted that 19 witnesses insisted to take on record their prepared signed statement(s), which according to them, were prepared by Ms Teesta Setalvad and Advocate M M Tirmizi and did not show willingness to give their own statement.”
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