24 March, 2014

Teesta Setalvad admits using Riot Victims' funds for Jewellery, Wine and other personal expenses: Crime Branch

Above: Affidavit filed by Crime Branch on 24.03.14

Teesta Setalvad, Secretary, CJP, who is facing Criminal Case against her and her husband, Javed Anand, in a joint affidavit filed by her on 20.03.2014, in the Sessions Court, Ahmedabad, admitted and stated that “I submit that these expenses were incurred by me, Teesta Setalvad and indeed are of a personal nature”.

The rejoinder affidavit filed by ACP, Crime Branch, today in the Court stated the same. The ACP’s affidavit further says that “the accused, thus admitted that expenses of such personal nature were made from the accounts of CJP, a public Trust”, Teesta in her affidavit claimed that “on a month to month basis only such expenses were to be reimbursed to me, Teesta Setalvad, by either of the Trust, which were supported by the travel bills.”

Teesta in her affidavit, also stated that “Since we live in the State of Maharashtra, and not Gujarat, there is nothing shocking about expenses on wine purchases, grocery etc.” The Police in response to this stated that “the point in issue is not about the nature of the expenses but the fact that these expenses of a purely personal nature were serviced from monies received for the rehabilitation and aid of the riot victims. Donations are sacrosanct and meant for charitable purpose. Frittering away lacs of rupees meant for charity cannot be taken lightly by any Authority in law. It is noteworthy that not a single voucher or scrap of paper has been submitted by the Accused along with the affidavit dated 20.03.2014, to substantiate the say of the applicant that they reimbursed the trust for such personal expenditure” says the Police.

The Crime Branch also informed to the Court today that “according to IDBI letter dated 07th March, 2014, total 51 cheques were issued towards the credit card payments from FCRA and SB accounts of Citizens for Justice & Peace (CJP) for and behalf of Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand, accused no 1 & 2. The cheques issued for the payment of Credit Cards bills, from the accounts of CJP, were signed by accused no 1 & 2.” The Police has given details of some of the cheques ranging from Rs 40,000 to over Rs 1 lac, paid from the accounts of CJP, towards credit card bill payments.

Setalvad in her affidavit also claims that the three credit cards used by her were issued after expiry of each of those. She also claims that one of her card was misplaced and in lieu of that a new card was issued by the Citi Bank. However the Crime branch has reproduced a letter of Citi Bank in the affidavit which clearly states that that the Credit Card bearing no 5520938031023006 was closed in September 2010 and Credit Card no 5520938045202125 was reissued. Similarly Credit Card no 5520938045202125 was closed in June 2012 and Credit Card no 5498520510664506 was reissued, which is active till date. The bank has clearly mentioned that cards were closed and reissued, not expired.

Police has stated that in support of her statement neither the accused have submitted any copy of complaint for the loss of Credit Card nor copy of request letter to the Citi Bank for issuing a fresh credit card. The Police has stated that the accused are loosely countering every allegation without any documentary evidence and “defense sought to be raised is false and unsubstantiated and an attempt to mislead this Hon’ble Court".

The Police has also taken serious objection of Teesta, accusing the State Police and senior functionaries of the State Govt by calling them “biased”, “vindictive”, “Vendetta of the State of Gujarat and its top functionaries against them” etc. The IO stated that repeated allegations are leveled with the sole purpose of abdicating the due process of law and stifling legitimate prosecution. The Police claimed that “the present accused in their anticipatory bail application as well as in their previous applications before the High court of Bombay as well as the Supreme Court had leveled similar unsubstantiated charges. Neither SC nor the Mumbai HC entertained their plea of malafides and relegated them to the appropriate court.”

The Police stated that accused are in the habit of raising issues in their replies related to old cases which are in no way related to this case. The reference to old cases, is merely an attempt by the accused to divert the attention of this Court from the charges of embezzlement of huge funds.

The Police has justified obtaining Credit Card details on the grounds that on scrutiny of account statement of CJP and Sabrang Trust, it was noticed that substantial amount has been paid from these accounts towards the Credit card bill payments, "hence it was found necessary to investigate the nature of payments made from the accounts of Trusts for these Credit cards. After receiving the Credit card payment details it was noticed that the payment of purely personal nature such as Shopping, entertainment etc have been undertaken by the accused".

Teesta and her husband in their joint affidavit claimed that the money received by them from Sabrang Trust was “on account of specific tasks, duties and responsibilities assigned to them as project directors of various projects”. In response to that Police claimed that accused have not given any explanation as to how out of total Rs 1.33 crores received by Sabrang Trust as foreign donation, approximately 74% i.e Rs 98 lacks were transferred in the accounts of the accused and their family and how with just 26% funds in hand, the projects were implemented.

Police has submitted that the accused have never co-operated with the investigation and they themselves chose to decide the legitimacy and illegitimacy of the queries raised by the Police and did not answer nor supply any documentary evidence to substantiate their claims.  

The Police also reiterated that their findings about Teesta and her husband - that together they could not deposit even Rs 500 in their accounts during a period from 01.01.2000 to 31.12.2002 - is correct and based on the statements received from their Bank. The allegations of the accused that the investigative agency has “deliberately misread bank statement” is totally false.

Police claimed that there is a prima facie case against accused and their custodial interrogation has now become even more important and imperative to examine the manner in which the trust funds have been transferred to their personal accounts and used purely for personal purposes.

The Counter affidavit was hurriedly filed by Teesta on 20.03.2014, although on 18th March the court reserved the order and fixed 25th March 3.00 p.m, for pronouncement of the order.

Also View: Evidence Against Teesta Setalvad for more such instances. 

19 March, 2014

Teesta Setalvad bought Jewellery & Wine from funds meant for Riot victims: Crime Branch

Above: Affidavit filed by Crime Branch, Ahmedabad against Teesta Setalvad

Nailing Teesta Setalvad's lies of incurring expenditure “strictly in accordance with the budget lines approved and authorized by Board of Trustees” today K. N. Patel, Assistant Commissioner of Police and IO, Cyber Crime Cell, Crime Branch, Ahmedabad City has filed a detailed sur–rejoinder opposing anticipatory bail of Teesta and her husband Javed Anand. Shri Ajay Choksi, Special PP, argued the matter in the Court of Session Judge at Ahmedabad, today.

The I.O has stated that “I have also sought credit card details from the Citi Bank. The details received would shock the conscience of this Hon’ble Court:”. The investigation has revealed very interesting facts related to 3 credit card of Citi Bank having number 5520938031023006, 5520938045202125 and 5498520510664506 which belong to Teesta Setalvad, accused no.1. Citi Bank credit card number 5520938031023006 was issued in August 2009 & was closed in September 2010. Card number 5520938045202125 was issued in September 2010 and closed in June 2012 and card number 5498520510664506 was issued in June 2012 which is active till date. Total amount of Rs. 14.20 lacs have been paid towards the credit card dues from the FCRA & SB Accounts of Citizen for justice and Peace (CJP) of which Teesta and Javed  are its chief trustees. It appears that the change of credit cards every year was intentional so as to avoid any scrutiny by the Income Tax Authorities, the affidavit says.

IO has stated that City Bank card details portray a shocking picture of how expenses of absolutely personal nature have been undertaken and sought to be explained away as miscellaneous expenses by Accused No-1, Teesta Setalvad. The data received from the City Bank show that substantial amounts are spent towards shopping, entertainment, foreign goods purchased, domestic requirements and other ancillary expenses of absolutely personal nature. Huge expenditure has been made such as purchase of branded shoes from Metro Shoes and Reebok Shoes, monthly hair styling expenses from Shivas Hair Designers - Bombay, Geetanjali Salon - Delhi, Body Shop. Purchase of clothes from Fabindia, Westside, Pantaloons, Shoppers Stop, United Color of Benetton in Rome, Khadi from Islamabad, Marks and Spencer, Online shopping from FlipKart, Amazon Marketing, and purchase of Google Storage in US Dollars, purchase of electronic goods from Croma - Mumbai, dining expenses at Hotel Taj and several prestigious restaurants such as Out of the Blue, Little Italy, Café Leopold, Rays Café & Pizzeria - Mumbai, Barbecue Nation, Music Systems from BOSE Corporation & Purchases of Music/Movies from Apple iTunes, Purchase of Jewellery from Amrapali Jewels, watches, suitcases, health equipments, gift articles from emporiums, Art Gallery from Islamabad including Plants from Flora Land and Green Grower - Mumbai etc.

The Affidavit says that Teesta has made payment from the account of CJP of hundreds of US Dollars/Pound Sterling/Canadian Dollar towards Scholastic Aptitude Test, college board entrance in US college, Oxford college and University of British Columbia for admission etc.

The affidavit further states that “from the scrutiny of credit card payments the most shocking revelation came from the payment made by accused no. 1 from the CJP’s account towards wine and liquor purchases from Chincholi Wines - Mumbai and Duty Free Shop of Mumbai airport, movie tickets from PVR cinemas & regular grocery purchases from Willingdon stores - Mumbai. Shopping expenses in Kuwait Dinar, US Dollars, Canadian Dollars, Euro, Pound Sterling and Pakistani Rupee have been noticed in the credit card expenses.”

Whether the Board of Trustees of Sabrang Trust and CJP have ever authorized to Teesta and Javed, as repeatedly claimed by them, to meet such purely personal expenditure is a subject matter of investigation. The Police says that it will investigate as to how the Chartered Accountant who has audited the accounts of these 2 trusts have not noticed that the trustees are using the trust fund other than for the purpose received.

The Police has submitted the following summary of total funds received by CJP and Sabrang Trust vis-à-vis amount transferred by them to their personal family accounts,

Sabrang Trust received Rs. 1,33,44,248, CJP received foreign donation Rs. 1,15,64,687, CJP received local donation Rs. 4,66,83,642. Total donation received Rs 7.16 crores

Total amount transferred to:

1. Teesta Setalvad - Rs.32,09,524
2. Javed Anand - Rs. 20,62,675
3. Sabrang Communication Pvt. Ltd - Rs. 1,20,14,356
4. Tamara Setalvad - Rs. 1,38,270
5. Cash withdrawal - Rs.75,28,000       
6. Credit card payment of  Teesta from CJP - Rs. 14,20,000
7. Credit Card payment of Javed Anand from Sabrang Trust - Rs. 2,97,924

Total - Rs. 2.67 Crores                                                                   

Teesta and her husband under the guise of providing financial and legal help and promising rehabilitation of the riots victims have induced the victims of the Gulbarg society to co-operate with them in terms of giving interviews, photographs, enabling the accused to collect huge funds by way of donations Having received huge foreign donations for the upliftment of the riots victims, their rehabilitation, putting up of the “Museum of Resistance” as promised to the complainants and other victims, the accused have committed the offences referred to in the F.I.R. and have siphoned off the amounts to their personal use.

Police said that  The donations received for public purpose cannot be permitted to be frittered away towards shopping, entertainment and such other expenses of a purely personal nature. The prosecution craves leave to place the credit card details for the kind perusal of the Hon’ble Court to highlight the manner in which the expenses sought to be made for achieving the object of the Trust, have actually been expended.

The Police has also taken a serious objection of Teesta dragging the name of Gujarat’s CM Shri Narendra Modi. Teesta in her counter affidavit already admitted that she has taken the amounts mentioned in the Police report.

Police has said that there is a prima facie case against accused no. 1 and 2 and their custodial interrogation is imperative to examine the manner in which the huge funds have been transferred to their personal accounts. They have also not co-operated with the investigation.

After hearing Ajay Choksi, Special PP, the Court has reserved the order and  fixed 25th March,2014 for the pronouncement of Judgement.

Also View: Evidence Against Teesta Setalvad for more such instances.

07 March, 2014

R.B. Sreekumar's lies in the 2002 Gujarat riots exposed through his 3 affidavits to the Nanavati-Shah Commission

R.B. Sreekumar, filed the above three affidavits before the “Justice Nanavati & Justice Shah Commission of Inquiry” at Ahmedabad:

a) First affidavit dated 06.07.2002 running into 10 pages, filed along with covering letter dated 15.07.2002. 

b) Second affidavit dated 06.10.2004 running into 11 pages, filed along with covering letter dated 06.10.2004.

c) Third affidavit dated 09.04.2005 running into 30 pages, filed along with covering letter dated 09.04.2005. 

1. R.B. Sreekumar in his first affidavit dated 06.07.2002 stated following:

In para no. 6 to 17, Sreekumar has informed the commission as to how the Intelligence Bureau (IB) gathered information from various sources about the movements of 3000 Karsevaks from Gujarat to Ayodhya and how the local IB of Gujarat, promptly informed the concerned authorities i.e. Railways, U P Police etc. about the movement of Karsevaks and requested them to take adequate measures for the safety of the Karsevaks.

In para no. 18, he has categorically stated that UP Police and Central IB has not provided any intimation about the return journey of these Ramsevaks and there was also no input from the Central IB about possible attack by fundamentalists and militant elements among the minority community, or by  any other anti-social elements, on Ramsevaks returning from the Ayodhya. 

From para no. 21 to 26, he states that SIB had an input about likely repercussion of Godhra incident on 27.02.2002. Accordingly SIB sufficiently alerted all the Police Commissioners and SPs in Gujarat.

In para no. 30, he blamed the media, print & electronic, for showing charred bodies which inflamed the passion of the people of Gujarat to a very high pitch.

In para no. 32, he stated that incident at Godhra took place in a short spell of time that even before the nearest Police-re-enforcement could reach the spot the coach had been engulfed with flames.   

In para no. 33, he categorically states “the response of the state Govt. to Godhra incident was immediate and prompt. The rescue and rehabilitation efforts commences instantaneously. The Chief Minister, Senior Ministers and other officials visited the scene and District Magistrate imposed curfew in Godhra town immediately as a precautionary measure.” 

In para no. 35, he stated that  “the impact of the sensational publicity about Godhra incident in print as well as in electronic media, an extensive communal carnage on an unprecedented scale, should be understood in the perspective of methodical communalization of a large junk of the population”

In para no 36, he, while blaming the media once again stated that “it may also be appreciated that this was the first communal riot situation which was covered extensively by the electronic media. The advent of the cable/satellite television in living rooms of ordinary citizens with effective biting and chilling, live reportage by various news channels had deleterious effect on the overall law and order situation. Also the print media, particularly the Vernacular press had published the news on communal riots grossly in irresponsible manner. This factor had played a decisive role in keeping up the communal tension.”

In para 37, of his affidavit, he finally appreciated the Gujarat Police and mentioned that “It is appreciable that despite being heavily outnumbered, Police took effective and decisive action, which is evident by the fact that 2200 persons were arrested in the first few days of whom 1800 were Hindus. The Police firing in the first few days resulted in the death of nearly 100 people of whom 60 were Hindus. It is evident, therefore, that the Police did not hesitate to use force to suppress the communal violence.”   

2. R.B. Sreekumar in his second affidavit dated 06.10.2004 stated following:

In para 4, he stated that the communal violence in whole State had shown a trend of marked decline. In April 2002, there were 403 incidents in which 105 persons died as against 271 incidents in May, 2002 in which only 59 persons died.

In para 5, 6, 7, 8 & 9, he has stated about his meetings with Shri K P S Gill, Advisor to Chief Minister, his suggestions about handling of communal incidents and investigations of riot affected cases.

In para 10, he stated about the instant exigency towards qualitative upgradation of field officers, threat from foreign aided militants and terrorists on well-known religious institution in Gujarat State etc.

In para 11, 12, 13 & 14, he has stated about the review meetings called by Addl. Secretary, Law & Order, implementation of recommendations & directions given by NHRC and further stated that “Godhra arson incident could not be prevented / contained ... for want of immediate and faster response from interventionist Police / rescue units reaching the spot ... The local law enforcing agencies were unaware of the journey details and profile of the group of passengers, who became victims of violence in the ill-fated boggy". He also gave some suggestions to prevent such incidents.

Finally in para 15, he emphasized on the need for issuing comprehensive instruction by revising, updating and embellishing the circulars / instructions in Police manuals and in compilations like communal peace. He suggested a brochure i.e. orange book in the line of Blue book on VIP security. 

Note: It is noteworthy that Sreekumar in his above mentioned two affidavits not even once mentioned about the involvement of State Government in the riots or about his victimization / harassment by the State Government or was he ever prevented by the State from stating the truth before the commission. 

3. R.B. Sreekumar in his third affidavit dated 09.04.2005 states the following:

In para 3, he states that it is filed by him to bring to the kind notice of the commission, instances of harassment and victimization perpetrated on him by the Higher authorities in the Government, he states that his assessment about the Law and order situation and related matters are neither in tune with the perception of the higher formations, nor favourable to the ruling party in the State.  

In para 4,he mentions a call made on him by Shri Dinesh Kapadia, Under Secretary of Home Department on 21.08.2004, about pursuing him to be favorable to the Government in his deposition before the commission. He also states that Shri G C Murmu, secretary Law & Order, Home Department, also called him on 24.08.2004 and tried to tutor him. He also states that he was threatened by these officials.

In para 5, he states that the briefing / directive given by Shri G C Murmu and Shri Pandya was in total violation of the letter and spirit of the terms of references of the Commission. He also makes direct allegations and states that “My deposition to the commission was therefore a major irritant to the Government and particularly the Hon’ble Chief Minister.” He also made direct allegation that Shri G C Murmu was authorized and entrusted with the task of tutoring and briefing Government officials deposing before the Commission. He has also mentioned that “It may kindly be noted that the Ministry of Home affairs has exonerated me in the pending DE and at present no departmental action is pending against me” 

In the remaining paragraphs running into 30 pages he repeatedly makes direct allegations against Chief Minister Shri Narendra Modi, State Government functionaries and narrates irrelevant stories citing Bhagavat Geeta and Upanishads. 

Note: It is noteworthy that R.B. Sreekumar made several direct allegations against the Chief Minister in this affidavit for fanning the violence. He claimed harassment / victimization by the State and mentioned about two meetings dated 21.08.2004 & 24.08.2004 with Shri Dinesh Kapadia & Shri G C Murmu respectively. The question is; if he was truly threatened or briefed / tutored by these officials in August, 2004 to depose in favour of the state, why has he not brought these facts before the commission in his affidavit of 06.10.2004 instead has raised these issues much later in his April, 2005 affidavit. 

It is further noteworthy that seven charges against Sreekumar in the infamous ISRO espionage case were dropped by the MHA (UPA Government) on 13th December, 2004 and later the remaining two charges were also dropped. He was totally exonerated from all charges by MHA on 24th January, 2005.  

Sreekumar who in his earlier two affidavits praised the State Government, including the Chief Minister filed this third affidavit on 9th April 2005 i.e after two months from his exoneration from ISRO espionage cases by the UPA Govt. 

It is also noteworthy that from 13 December, 2004 to 24th January, 2005 i.e. in about one and half months’ time the UPA Government completed the entire process of appointing the presenting officer, enquiry officer, conducting and completing the enquiry, preparing and submitting the enquiry report, consideration of the enquiry report at various levels and issuing the final order, dropping all the charges against Sreekumar.

Is it not clear now that the third affidavit of Sreekumar was a part of quid- pro-quo to launch a tirade full of lies and untruth against the State Government of Gujarat? 

Sreekumar apparently honoured his part of the deal with his political masters in the Congress Party led Central Government and continues to do the same even today by joining hands with Teesta Setalvad.