Mumbai: The Bombay High Court today ordered no arrests of social activists Teesta Setalvad and her associate Javed Anand till May 2 in a criminal case lodged against them by the Gujarat police for alleged misappropriation of funds.
A bench of Justice Revati Mohite-Dere gave an interim protection to the from arrest till May 2 on their plea for “tarnsit anticipatory bail,’ filed yesterday.
While allowing their plea, the bench asked them to appear before the probe agency tomorrow for recording their statements and later, as and when required.
The Ahmedabad Crime Branch had last week lodged a complaint against Setalvad and Anand, alleging that through their NGO Sabrang Trust, they had ‘fraudulently’ secured central government funds to the tune of Rs 1.4 crore between 2008 and 2013.
According to the complaint on the basis of which the case was lodged, the funds had been secured to provide education to poor children in Gujarat and Maharashtra and to help victims of the 2002 post- Godhra riots in Gujarat, but were misappropriated or used for other purposes.
The case was registered against Setalvad and Anand under various sections, including 403 (dishonest misappropriation of property), 406 (criminal breach of trust), and 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant, or by banker, merchant or agent) of the Indian Penal Code.
The activists had yesterday approached the high court seeking a transit anticipatory bail.
Senior counsel Mihir Desai, representing Setalvad and Anand, had told the high court that both of them were willing to appear before the investigating agency tomorrow to record their statements.
“Anand will appear before the agency as and when required. Setalvad is going out of India between April 10 and May 15. She would return and (again) appear before the agency,” he said.
The high court should give them a ‘transit anticipatory bail,’ so that they can travel to Gujarat and seek a regular pre-arrest bail from the appropriate court, he said.