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Teesta Setalvad handed over to SOG over illegal exhumation of bodies

"Her anticipatory bail plea is pending in the high court and is expected to come up for a hearing next month. We will wait till the final outcome (before taking further action)," said Solanki, who is in charge of the SOG.


PTI 31 Jul 2018, 04:05 PM India

The probe against activist Teesta Setalvad for the alleged illegal exhumation of bodies of post-Godhra riot victims has been handed over to the Special Operations Group (SOG) of the city Crime Branch.

Gujarat Director General of Police Shivanand Jha recently handed over the investigation to the SOG, said Assistant Commissioner of Police BC Solanki. Last year, the Supreme Court had refused to entertain Setalvad's plea seeking to quash the FIR registered against her by Lunawada police in Panchmahal district. The Gujarat High Court had rejected her similar plea in 2011.

"Till now, all 11 accused named in the FIR lodged in January 2006 at Lunawada have been arrested and a charge sheet has been filed. Setalvad was shown as accused in the charge sheet, but due to the court matters (her applications in the court), she was never arrested," ACP Solanki said.

"Her anticipatory bail plea is pending in the high court and is expected to come up for a hearing next month. We will wait till the final outcome (before taking further action)," said Solanki, who is in charge of the SOG.

It had been alleged that after the 2002 Gujarat riots, Panchmahal district officials buried bodies of 28 unidentified riot victims from Pandarwada and surrounding villages in a graveyard on the banks of River Panam near Lunawada.

In December 2005, Setalvad's former aide Rais Khan and some others allegedly exhumed these bodies, without permissions from police and other authorities. It led to the registration of an FIR against Khan and 10 others.

They were arrested and are now on bail. The Gujarat high court later ordered DNA tests of the victims' remains under the CBI's monitoring. After identifying the bodies through DNA testing, they should be handed over to the relatives, it had said. During the trial, Khan stated that he exhumed the bodies at Setalvad's behest.

In 2011, an FIR was registered against her, which called her the "prime conspirator". Among other things, she was accused of offenses under IPC sections 192 (fabricating false evidence) and 201 (causing the disappearance of evidence). Setalvad alleged that she was being targeted as she had taken up the cause of Gujarat riot victims.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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