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. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a classic story of misuse of Trust and its funds. The legal procedure should continue so that all her trusts and those of other activists can be reexamined and wrong doers are exposed. Good ones will still survive who are real serving the people not personal gain.