A single judge bench of the Gujarat HC had on July 1 rejected Setalvad’s bail plea and ordered her to surrender immediately, prompting her to approach the top court.
A three-judge SC bench of Justices Gavai, AS Bopanna and Dipankar Datta, which had earlier criticized the HC judge for not giving “adequate time” to Setalvad to approach the SC, on Wednesday said, “at least Suffice to say, the findings of the Single Judge of the HC are totally perverse.”
“We normally decide most bail applications within 15 minutes,” Gavai said during the two-hour hearing of the Gujarat government, represented by Setalvad’s counsel Kapil Sibal and Additional Solicitor General SV Raju.
Being granted bail means that Setalvad will remain free during the trial of the case against her.
CJI Chandrachud constituted a bench of Justice AS Oka and Justice Prashant K Mishra to hear Setalvad’s bail plea, but due to differences in the two-judge bench, the CJI constituted a three-judge bench headed by Justice BR Gavai. , which granted him interim bail on the lines of a similar relief granted by a three-judge bench on September 2 last year.
The bench relied on the grounds cited by the SC in its September 2, 2022 order granting interim bail to Setalvad – that a woman was in custody from June 25 to July 3, 2022; The offenses alleged against him date back to 2002 and as per the claims made in the FIR, pertain to documents which were sought to be produced and/or relied upon till 2012; And the investigation machinery got the benefit of interrogating him in custody for seven days after which he was sent to judicial custody.
The only warning given to Setalvad by the Supreme Court was not to try to influence the witnesses. The bench consoled the Gujarat government saying, “If she tries to influence the witnesses, the prosecution can directly approach the Supreme Court for cancellation of her bail.” – as serious.
The FIR against her states, “The final report submitted by the SIT contains material which indicates that Teesta Setalvad fabricated facts and fabricated documents and/or evidence, including fabrication of documents by persons who There were potential witnesses of the complainant. This is not only a case of falsifying documents, but also a case of influencing witnesses, training them and forcing them to testify on pre-typed affidavits.” SIT by SC to probe riot cases was appointed.