End of road for “Teflon Teesta”? Hardly

This Teesta is a Hindu lady who turned rogue after marring a Muslim. What are the chances that her perjury visible to the whole world will be punished by the Supreme Court? Seeing the past record of judges, I am not at all hopeful. She is the Teflon Teesta — no harm ever comes to her in this country from the media, judges and the government. What is the reason for her power? Is it Gulf oil money?

Punish Teesta for perjury, Godhra accused tells SC
With evidence to suggest that Godhra riots case witnesses were “tutored” by social activist Teesta Setalvad, an accused in one of the riots cases has approached the Supreme Court and demanded that perjury proceedings be initiated against her.

The application filed by Shashikant Patil, an accused in the Narodiya Patiya case (FIR No 100/02), highlighted how false affidavits were filed with the complicity of Teesta and her NGO Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) to mislead the court. The application is expected to be heard on October 26, when similar petitions related to Godhra riots would be heard by a Special Bench of the Supreme Court.

Patil, who is in jail since 2002, has relied heavily on the affidavits and reports filed by the court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT), the Gujarat Government, Teesta and certain witnesses before the apex court, to make out a case of perjury against her. If found guilty under the relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Teesta could end up in prison for a term ranging from three years to even life, depending on how the court views her conduct.

In support of his claim, Patil has quoted a crucial finding of the SIT showing 22 witnesses submitting “identical” affidavits in the court. Upon inquiry, none of the witnesses was aware of the contents recorded in these affidavits and confessed that three of them were sent by Teesta and six witnesses were asked to give contradictory statements regarding the accused.

Even the Gujarat Government highlighted this fact in its affidavit of March 11, 2010. Incidentally, in her reply to the affidavit, Teesta did not contradict any fact nor denied the allegations.

With Teesta’s NGO Citizens for Justice and Peace a petitioner before the Supreme Court and spearheading the campaign for justice for the Gujarat riots victims, the applicant gave further proof to illustrate how the petitioner took undue advantage of her vantage position to mislead the court.

The incident was of Naroda Gaon, where an alleged rape victim filed an affidavit on November 15, 2003, in the Supreme Court and provided a detailed account of her agony and injustice. The affidavit was filed by Nanoomiya Rasoolmiya Malek, the rape victim’s neighbour who claimed to be an eyewitness.

But later in her statement to SIT on May 20, 2008, the victim denied being raped and disclosed that Teesta took her signature on the affidavits but did not reveal to her the contents. The eyewitness Malek too charged Teesta of tampering with his statement. He said, “At the time of drafting the affidavit, I informed Teesta Setalvad, who runs the NGO, not to mention the said incorrect fact in my affidavit and I strongly objected against the same.”

This fact was brought to the apex court’s notice by SIT in one of its status reports.

Pointing out a possible nexus between Teesta and the witnesses, the applicant referred to a news report of December 20, 2008, in The Pioneer, wherein copies of cheques of Rs 1 lakh each issued by Teesta to the victims were produced.

Patil strengthened his case by highlighting the shocking tale of a pregnant Kauser Bano’s womb being ripped open, highlighted by Teesta as a ground to replace the SIT members. On investigation, SIT found the foetus intact and the sensational allegations to be concocted lies.

Quoting the above events, Patil said, “The constant attempts of the respondent (Teesta) in stalling smooth conduct of investigation and trial has resulted in the accused being in jail for a period of eight years without trial.” In this backdrop, the accused has urged the court to initiate perjury proceedings against Teesta under Sections 191-195 of the IPC.

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