The Supreme Court today refused to grant anticipatory bail to social activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand but extended interim protection from arrest till March end in a case lodged against them in Ahmedabad for alleged embezzlement of funds.
The couple had approached the apex court against the January 31 order of the Bombay High Court which had given them only interim protection for four weeks till February 28 with a direction to approach the Gujarat High Court for anticipatory bail. Teesta and her husband have been booked by the Crime Branch of Gujarat Police on the charges of cheating, breach of trust and under the IT Act, in a matter related to construction of "Museum of resistance" in the Gulbarg society in Ahmedabad which was hit by communal riot in 2002.
The apex court said it was not inclined to interfere with the Bombay High Court order and also asked the Gujarat Government not to "sensationalise" the case. "We are not inclined to interfere with the order of the Bombay High Court. However, we extend the interim protection from February 28 to March 31. The petitioners can file petition in Gujarat High Court for anticipatory bail which has to be heard independently without being influenced by the observation made by the Bombay High Court," a bench comprising justices S J Mukhopadhaya and Kurian Joseph said.
The bench said it will be open for the Bombay High Court to go into the question of law that whether anticipatory bail can be entertained in the cases registered in different state.