An FIR has been lodged against social activist Teesta Setalvad, her husband Javed Anand, Zakia Jafri's son Tanvir Jafri and two others for allegedly usurping Rs 1.51 crore collected by them for turning Gulbarg Society into a museum, police said.
"An FIR has been lodged under Sections 120(B), 406 and 420 of the IPC and Section 72 (A) of the IT Act against Setalvad, Anand, Tanvir Jafri and two others for allegedly usurping Rs 1.51 crore, which they had collected (as donation) for converting Gulbarg Society into a museum," a senior Crime Branch official said on Monday.
"The funds, according to the residents, were collected between 2007 and 2012 by Setalvad from abroad under the promise that Gulbarg Society would be converted into a museum. However, the funds are lying as fixed deposits with Setalvad," the official said. ACP KN Patel is investigating the case.
Residents of Gulbarg Society, which came under attack during the post-Godhra riots in Gujarat in 2002 with 68 people losing their lives, had demanded the Rs 1.51 crore back from Setalvad last year after alleging that the money collected in their name had not been used for the purpose stated.
Twelve Gulbarg Society residents, including some of the witnesses of the Gulbarg case trial, had sent a notice in this regard to the Citizens rpt Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) secretary Setalvad and alleged that she has not fulfilled the promises of providing financial support to reconstruct their houses.
Since the post-Godhra riots in which more than 1,000 people lost their lives, Setalvad has through her NGO been actively providing legal and other assistance to the victims. "As per the RTI information, we have come to know that you have collected huge donations from national and international organisations in the name of providing financial assistance to us in the reconstruction of houses and/or for developing the society into a museum," the 12 Gulbarg Society members had alleged.
"But despite collecting foreign donations of approximately Rs 63 lakh in the account of Citizens for Justice and Peace and Rs 88 lakh in the account of Sabrang Trust, nothing has been passed on to the members of the society either for the reconstruction of the houses or for the development of the museum," they further said. Efforts to contact Setalvad proved unsuccessful.
Recently, a metropolitan magistrate's court accepted a Special Investigation Team closure report in connection with the post-Godhra riots and rejected Zakia Jafri's protest petition. The petition was filed by Zakia and Setalvad's NGO, CJP, against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and others. Following the verdict, Zakia and Setalvad had said that they would appeal the ruling in a higher court.
Here is the full statement:
A deliberate campaign to vilify the efforts to procure justice for the Victims of the carnage of 2002 that has been sustained and supported by vested powerful interests in Gujarat and the opposition party at the national level has reached new heights over past weeks. Malafide attempts to embroil us in more false cases before the Gujarat police (that can be then manipulated to intimidate our efforts) have compelled us to issue this Communication to the Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Ahmedabad, Gujarat Police. The detailed communication is self-explanatory. We urge that you circulate this among all peace-loving persons supportive of the struggle for justice against the powerful perpetrators of 2002.
Attached are also letters written by the official members of the Gulberg Society to the Media and the Police.
March 13, 2013
Shri A.K. Sharma,
Joint Commissioner of Police
We the undersigned Trustees and office bearers of the Citizens for Justice and Peace and Sabrang Trust need to bring some distressing and disturbing facts to your notice. We have been given to understand that some persons claiming to be official representatives of the Gulberg society have written to you making false and malafide allegations against our organisation that has been assisting Survivors of the Gujarat genocide of 2002 to access justice. CJP has been assisting dozens of survivors of the Gujarat 2002 carnage and have been co-petitioners in the Smt Zakia Jafri case against chief minister Narendra Modi and 61 others [protest petition to be filed by April 15, 2013].
Official representatives of the Gulberg society we are informed have already written to you today stating that the letter-head of the society has been forged by some residents and the claims being made by them are patently false since nothing has been parted from them.
The false claims that CJP has raised Rs 63 lakhs and Sabrang Trust has raised Rs 88 lakhs for the purpose of the construction of the museum, nationally and internationally is a total lie. To clarify, CJP has never sought nor received any money for this purpose. Till November 2012, Sabrang Trust had received a total donation in of Rs. 4,10,285 from donors within India and Rs 50,000 from one individual overseas for the proposed dream museum. This is a matter between our donors and the Trust which we will address when a final decision on the issue is made. All other funds, nationally and internationally raised, have been funds legitimately collected for activities that we publicly engage in. Our accounts are audited and submitted to the relevant authorities.
We would like to state clearly that at no point have any of the organisations that we are connected to claimed any amount or money or land from any person residing at or claiming to be part of Gulberg society. Survivors of the carnage and we did have dreams of a Gulberg Memorial commemorating the state sponsored carnage. This idea that emerged in 2007 had finally to be abandoned when prices for real estate spiralled and we thus informed the society of these difficulties. A formal resolution of the society was passed after this was conveyed to them, leaving the members free to sell off their properties as per law. In no way have either CJP or Sabrang in any way cheated them or let down the society.
We believe that with the date of the filing of Smt. Zakia Jafri's 'Protest Petition' draws near, this charade is being orchestrated by a nexus of vested interests to create a diversion and to malign CJP and Sabrang Trust. The cases being handled by us involve the most powerful in the state and relate to public justice and it appears that some vested interests have colluded to make false allegations and distract us from the onerous and dangerous task at hand..
We would like to state that this appears to be part of a sinister campaign being unleashed against us by some persons being manipulated by a former employee Rais Khan Pathan who is using some residents of the society (not official members) and sections of the police and some persons claiming to be official members of the society.
We would like to state categorically that both CJP and Sabrang officially receive money for legitimate activities and following the legally required procedures. By unleashing this set of manipulated lies and using sections of the police towards this end, the dubious nexus of these persons with a former employee and the powerful in the state of Gujarat are trying to de-rail the proposed protest petition. Khan tried to petition the FCRA department (see attached documents) in January 2013 and this was followed by an official representative of the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) Gujarat in February 2013. Hence the nexus that we are alleging is based on developments that have been in the public domain and have been clearly aimed at derailing the Smt Zakia Jafri Protest Petition against Narendra Modi and others.
In the eleven-long years of the battle for justice, the allegations have remained the same those who made them have changed. In 2004 it was Zahira Shaikh a star witness in the Best Bakery Case. Our organisation and its role has been repeatedly exonerated and recognised for assisting the legal struggle of poor witnesses. In 2010 it was a former employee of our organisation, Rais Khan Pathan. In 2011 Yasmeen Shaikh another witness was egged on by the former employee, Rais Khan. Each time we at CJP have sought impartial judicial exoneration. Sir, please do take a few moments to go through the sustained and malicious campaigns that is enlisted in the accompanying note "Background Facts" (Annexure I). It is clear that he is being propped up by the powerful in the state.
This illustrates how even the current spate of similar allegations sought to be made through some residents of the Gulberg society, are in actuality being manipulated by Rais Khan who is being propped up by powerful persons including influential lawyers representing the ruling party who are supporting him.The Hon'ble Supreme Court has already stayed two such malicious complaints in which even sections of the Gujarat police have played a role siding openly with Shri Khan. The matters are pending final hearing.
Sir we therefore urge that the Crime Branch of the Gujarat Police looks at the complete background and nexus when it deals with the current set of false allegations. We would like to reiterate that our organisation (s) function lawfully and urge that this malafide complaint is not made a manipulative tool by the Crime Branch. Any genuine investigations or inquiries our Trustees would gladly respond to.
IM Kadri, (President, CJP) Raghunandan Maluste, (Vice President, CJP)
Teesta Setalvad, (Secretary, CJP & Trustee Sabrang Trust) Nakul Mehta, (Trustee Sabrang Trust)