Gujarat 2002 Scam – The Story of Teesta Setalvad duping riot-affected Muslims of Gujarat

You must have seen how Barkha Dutt capitalised on Covid mayhem. But very few of you would have moved your keyboard to enquire about the mad scientist on whose name this model should be patented. It’s Teesta Setalvad. Here is the story of how she duped riot-affected Muslims of Gujarat.

Supreme Court’s remarks on Teesta Setalvad

In a huge relief to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Supreme Court on Friday dismissed the appeal by Zakia Jafri, wife of Congress MP Ehsan Jafri challenging the clean chit given by the Special Investigation Team (SIT). However, unlike other times, Court adopted a no-hold-barred approach in its comments. It is reflected in every word of the judgement.

A 3-judge Bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar particularly took on serial accuser Teesta Setalvad. Honourable Court categorically stated that Teesta has been vindictive against PM Modi. In the judgement, the apex Court stated, “Antecedents of Teesta Setalvad need to be reckoned with and also because she has been vindicively persecuting this lis [dispute] for her ulterior design by exploiting the emotions and sentiments of Zakia Jafri, the real victim of the circumstances.”

Read more: The last attempt to keep Gujarat 2002 riots alive gets buried by Supreme Court

The Bench did not mince its words when it came to elaborating the modus operandi of the activists hounding PM Modi for 2 decades. Effectively terming them impractical and out of touch with reality, the Bench added, “The protagonists of the quest for justice sitting in a comfortable environment in their air-conditioned office may succeed in connecting failures of the state administration at different levels during such a horrendous situation, little knowing or even referring to the ground realities and the continual effort put in by the duty holders in controlling the spontaneous evolving situation unfolding aftermath mass violence across the state.”

Facts are in the public domain

We are pretty sure that these remarks will be centre stage of crooked intolerance debate in some IVY league-inspired liberal universities. But the comments did not come out of thin air. Anyone even remotely and unwillingly following the media coverage of the 2002 Gujarat riots is aware of the face of 60-year-old Teesta Setalvad. She has been the lynchpin of everything wrong with the perception of PM Modi. As it turned out in her years beyond 2002, she used PM Modi and Gujarat riots for her pecuniary gains.

One of the first and possibly the most prominent cases related to the 2002 riots recorded in our lawbooks is that of the Best Bakery case. Zaheera Sheikh was one of the key witnesses in this case. In her affidavit filed in High Court, Zaheera put Setalvad under the scanner. According to her affidavit, Teesta was constantly threatening her with life if she did not utter what was being fed to her. Zaheera said and we quote, “If we don’t lie as instructed by Teesta, then these people will get me and my family members killed.”

Macabre tales of killings

But, threatening a Muslim woman of her life is an extremely minuscule crime when you discover how she used her crooked brain to magnify the intensity of the Gujarat riots. R K Raghavan, a former CBI director who headed the SIT formed to probe PM Modi’s role in the 2002 riots accused her of cooking macabre tales of killings. In his report, Raghavan investigated most of the cases related to the riots and found that Teesta Setalvad was a connecting link in almost all of them.

Raghavan and his team investigated 22 witnesses with identical affidavits. The SIT found that these witnesses had never actually witnessed the incident with their own eyes. As it later turned out, the similarities in their graphical description of the violence were because they were served with a similar script to parrot in Court. There is no second-guessing here about who did it. Raghavan explicitly named Teesta for tutoring and handling over the affidavits to the gullible witnesses.

One of the false cases under the scanner was that of the rape and murder of a woman named Kaushar Bano. I am shaking while putting this fact in front of you, but somehow have to do it in order to give you full info about the extent to which these kinds of people go in order to implicate someone. It was alleged that Kausar was gang-raped and her 9-month-old fetus was removed from her body by using sharp weapons. SIT found it to be a fabricated one. Now you understand why Raghavan termed them as “macabre tales of killings”

The graphic description was so horrendous that even someone like Pratap Bhanu Mehta could not defend her.

Financial gains on dead bodies

Apparently, all this was done to stop the political journey of our current Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, there is always a financial angle involved when a left-liberal takes up such causes. It is true for Teesta Setalvad as well.

Teesta made a career out of the 2002 riots. The cases related to the riots served as a late life insurance scheme for Teesta. She gave testimonies at stages all around the world. Her network expanded in massive proportions. In her speeches, she also used to tell gullible westerners as well as rich Indians that she is working towards the rehabilitation of Muslims affected by the 2002 riots. For 11 long years, she seems to have collected huge sums until poor Muslims got fed up with it not being percolating down.

Gulbarg Society and other scams

In 2013, members of Gulbarg society decided to do something. They came out in public stating that Teesta had not spent a single penny for rehabilitating them. As it turned out, Teesta was collecting money for the reconstruction of houses for the members of displaced members of society. Additionally, to add glamour to her ‘charity collection drama’, she was also telling the donors that she would be converting the original society into a museum for them to visit and witness. Poor Muslims were so fed-up with the tantrums of Teesta and her organisation “Citizens for Justice and Peace” that they sought to outrightly ban it from entering the place where victims of the riot were staying.

The accusations were later substantiated by Gujarat Police. In 2015, Gujarat Police had said that Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand had spent money collected for constructing a memorial for riot victims and their aid on personal expenses. The police said that the two had “misappropriated the funds of charity and converted to their own use – funds meant for the rehabilitation and welfare of the unfortunate victims of riots in Gujarat in February-March 2002”.

These are not the only damages Teesta Setalvad, her husband Javed Anand and her NGOs have done to the nation. They are also accused of embezzling funds, pushing false narratives in NCERT books and violations of FCRA.

Time to get her into Courts

Now, you see why Honourable Court made the aforementioned observations. Teesta Setalvad is a regular visitor to the Apex Court. The documents involving her must be circulating among every other Judge in the Court. They should also scrutinise these documents with a human lens.

In fact, they are trained to do that. Now, the only question that remains is, when will a crooked individual like her be facing trials? Hopefully, it will be done when Court hearings are telecasted live on digital platforms. The person is so crooked and fake that watching her speak feels like a humanoid project gone wrong.

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