Social activist Teesta Setalvad and her associate Javed Anand today moved the Bombay High Court, seeking ‘transit anticipatory bail’ in a case of alleged misappropriation of Central government’s funds by them. After a brief hearing on the plea, a bench of Revati Mohite-Dere said she would pass an appropriate order on the plea tomorrow.
The case was registered by Ahmedabad Crime Branch last week, on a complaint accusing Setalvad and Anand of ‘fraudulently’ securing grants of Rs 1.4 crore from the Union government through their NGO Sabrang Trust between 2008 and 2013.
As per the Gujarat police, the funds had been ostensibly obtained to help the victims of the 2002 post-Godhra Gujarat riots, but were misappropriated or used for other purposes.
The complaint was registered under sections 403 (dishonest misappropriation of property), 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant, or by banker, merchant or agent) of the Indian Penal Code.
Senior counsel Mihir Desai, representing Setalvad and Anand, told the high court today that both of them were willing to appear before the investigating agency on April 6 to record their statements.
“Anand will appear before the agency as and when required. Setalvad is going out of India between April 10 and May 15. She would return and (again) appear before the agency,” Desai told Justice Mohite-Dere.
The high court should give them ‘transit anticipatory bail,’ so that they can travel to Gujarat and seek regular pre-arrest bail from the appropriate court, he said.
Senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani, appearing for the Gujarat police, sought to assure the court that Setalvad and Anand can appear before the investigating officers on April 6, and the police would not arrest them till April 9.