SC questions source of money in Teesta’s frozen account

sc-delhiThe Supreme Court today questioned the source of money in the bank accounts of social activist Teesta Setalvad and others which were frozen by Ahmedabad police in 2015 after allegations of misappropriation.

“Whose money is this? From where did the money in these bank accounts have come,” a bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra asked the counsel for Setalvad.

“There are multiple donors who have donated the money for various purposes. Our personal bank accounts and the bank accounts of NGOs have been frozen by them, which also include fixed deposits. At least the court should direct them that personal bank accounts should be defreezed as lot of time has passed,” advocate Aparna Bhat appearing for Setalvad said.

She said they have submitted the details of source of money to the Gujarat government but till now no action has been taken on defreezing the accounts.

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Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Gujarat, told the bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and M M Shantanagoudar, that some time was needed to file detailed reply on the issue.

The bench then posted the matter for further hearing on April 18.

On November 9 last year, the apex court had fixed the pleas of Setalvad, her husband Javed Anand and her two controversial NGOs challenging the freezing of their accounts for final hearing.

Setalvad had objected to repeated adjournments taken by Gujarat government after the apex court issued notice saying their accounts have remained frozen for nearly three years.

Teesta, her husband and two NGOs — Sabrang Trust and Citizens for Justice and Peace — had approached the apex court challenging the October 7, 2015 verdict of the Gujarat High Court rejecting their pleas for defreezing their personal bank accounts.

One of the residents of Gulberg Society, Firoz Khan Pathan, had filed a complaint against Setalvad and others alleging that money was raised to make a museum at Gulberg Society in the memory of 69 people killed in the 2002 Gujarat riots, but it had not been utilised for the purpose.

The freezing of the accounts by Ahmedabad Police had come soon after its Crime Branch had started probing a case in which Setalvad and others were accused of embezzling Rs 1.51 crore collected to convert Gulberg Society into a museum.

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