In a setback for social activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband, Javed Anand, the Bombay high court on Friday dismissed the petitions filed by them. The petitions sought quashing of an FIR filed against them for alleged misappropriation of funds and for defreezing of their bank accounts.
A division bench of Justices NH Patil and Abhay Thipsay refused to grant any relief to Setalvad and Anand after observing that the jurisdiction to decide on the issue lies with the Gujarat high court as the FIR is lodged there.
The HC said it cannot entertain the petitions of the applicants as the FIR is lodged in Gujarat and hence they will have to seek relief from the high court there.
A victim of Gulbarg Housing Society incident, where 67 persons were killed during the 2002 riots, had lodged a complaint with Ahmedabad police against the couple and their NGOs 'Citizens for Justice and Peace' and 'Sabrang Trust'. It was alleged that the accused collected funds in the name of converting part of the Gulbarg society into a museum and had misappropriated crores of rupees.
The cyber crime cell of Ahmedabad crime branch had opposed the petitions claiming that the duo had embezzled funds and used it for their personal expenditure. The Ahmedabad crime branch had filed an affidavit to the effect in the high court.
The affidavit reads: "Donations received for public purposes prima facie appear to be frittered away towards shopping, entertainment and other expenses of a purely personal nature."
"Total fund of Rs7.16 crore was received by Sabrang Trust and CJP Trust. Out of this, a total amount of Rs2.67 crore was transferred to the personal accounts of Teesta and Javed and used towards payment of their credit card dues," the affidavit alleged.
It further claimed that the trust funds were used towards purchase of jewellery, wine and liquor, spa treatments, movie tickets, branded shoes and clothes and electronic goods by Setalvad and Anand.