Supreme Court: Extended Protection From Arrest to Teesta Setalvad and Referred Case to Larger Bench.

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Social Activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand were extended protection by Supreme Court from arrest by Gujarat Police incase of embezzlement to funds that were received by 2 trusts,which they were the main office-bearers. This case involves regarding funds received by Sabrang Trust and Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) for building a museum at Ahmedabad’s Gulbarg Co-operative Housing Society (GCHS) in Ahmedabad that was devastated in 2002 riots.

Crime Branch of Gujarat Police have booked Ms Setalvad and her husband JavedAnand on charges of cheating, breach of trust, and also under IT Act in the above said matter relating to construction of Museum of Resistance.

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Supreme Court said the interim order providing protection from arrest to Ms Setalvad and Javed Anand her husband, has been extended and referred her anticipatory bail plea to a larger bench. The two-judge bench comprising of Justices DipakMisra and Adarsh Kumar Goel have stated that this matter raises many issues relating to concept of liberty while considering the offences indicated in the case. Bench also said that various issues like supremacy of law, value of liberty, anticipatory bail, concept of regulated liberty and accused’s non-cooperation while investigation,were needed to be discussed. While the anticipatory bail plea was requested by Ms Setalvad the bench comprising of justices S J Mukhopadhya and NV Ramana had asked some tough questions who earlier had extended the protection from arrest till February 19 and new bench of Justices DipakMisra and Adarsh Kumar Goel further extended the stay but reserved the judgement.

On February 12 High Court had said that since Setalvad and JavedAnand were not cooperating in the matter and so “they cannot be armoured with full-fledged anticipatory bail when applicants did not cooperate with the investigation”.Hours later when the High Court denied them the bail, they had moved the apex court. The bench on 19 February had reserved its order on anticipatory bail plea of Setalvad and Javed Anand when they had challenged the order of Gujarat High Court denying them such a relief.

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Court while granting relief observed that “liberty is paramount and cannot be put on a ventilator”.