BEFORE THE HON’BLE SESSIONS COURT AT
MISC.APPLICATION NO.761 OF 2014
Teesta Setalvad & Javed Anand .. Applicants
State of Gujarat .. Respondent
AFFIDAVIT IN REJOINDER
OF THE APPLICANTS
I, Teesta Atul Setalvad, aged about 52 years, residing at Nirant, Juhu Tara Road, Mumbai 400 049, do hereby state on solemn affirmation as under:
1. I say that I have read a copy of the Affidavit in reply on behalf of the State of Gujarat. I have discussed the contents of the present affidavit in rejoinder with my co-applicant Javed Anand who has approved this Affidavit and the present affidavit ought to be treated as a joint affidavit by both of us.
2. At the outset, I submit that the Respondent has exposed its malafides by going into issues which are much beyond the scope of an anticipatory bail application, apart from being much beyond the scope of permissible investigation as per the accusations made in the FIR. In fact it is clear from the affidavit itself that the Respondent is leaving no stone unturned to implicate us in a false case. I say and submit that this is not the first time that the Respondent is trying these brazen intimidatory tactics and the reasons and motives for this, as explained below, are extremely clear.
3. I am not dealing with each and every allegation contained in the affidavit in reply. However, nothing contained therein should be treated as admitted by me merely because of absence of specific denial and all that is contained therein which is contrary to or inconsistent with what is stated in the bail application and what is stated hereinafter should be treated as denied. I further submit that it is not clear as to how and on what authority of law the respondent has managed to obtain the details of our accounts. I say and submit that this itself exposes not just the motives of the Respondents and those they are brazenly using in this proxy battle but ought and deserves separate and special investigation and punitive action. I further submit that the interpretation given to the accounts by the Respondent is completely false and bogus and I shall deal with the same hereinafter. However, even assuming without admitting that all that is said by the respondent in his reply is correct, even then no offence is made out against any of us. In any event from the affidavit in reply it is clear that the investigating agency already has full and complete details of each account and therefore custodial interrogation of any kind is not going to throw any further light on the same and in view of the same the anticipatory bail ought to be granted.
4. With reference to the allegations contained concerning the decision to have a museum at Gulberg society the same have already been dealt with in our application and therefore in the present affidavit we are not dealing with the same extensively. However, I deny that those persons who were not victimised in the Gulberg society were passed out as victims of Gulberg society in the photographs, videos or otherwise. At no stage have we stated that a permanent museum was ready at Gulberg society as alleged. I further deny that the FCRA account was opened in order to get funds for the museum. I deny that crores of Rupees have been received in two FCRA accounts for the purpose of building a museum or that the so called crores of Rupees have been used for personal benefits by the applicants as alleged or at all. I do not admit that only 4 persons have passed the resolution as alleged in para 3 of the affidavit in reply. In any event neither of us are members of the society and therefore whether the society resolution is proper or improper is something which we cannot comment upon.
5. As regards trustees of Sabrang trust it is not true that there are only three trustees as alleged. In fact there were 3 more trustees who are in no way connected with the family of the applicants. I deny that there has been any suppression of facts by us as alleged in the affidavit. In fact the Affidavit of the State suffers from suppresio very and sugesto falsi and they have deliberately twisted the facts to suit their purposes.
6. I shall now deal with the analysis of accounts as provided in the affidavit in reply. At the outset it needs to be clarified that both Citizens for Justice and Peace and Sabrang trust have been established for carrying out activities and have been carrying out activities which are much broader than establishing the museum. The Sabrang trust was established in 1995 at which time the Gulberg Carnage incident had not even occurred. The Citizens for Justice and Peace was established in 2002 again much before any talk of any museum to be established at Gulberg society had even been conceptualised. Both the trusts are registered at Mumbai under the Bombay Public Trust Act, 1950. Both have been established inter alia for the object of spreading communal harmony and peace in society and also to assist the victims of communal violence across the country for reparation, redressal including ensuring legal accountability vis a vis perpetrators. Both the trusts have been regularly filing their returns with the Charity Commissioner as well as the Income Tax departments. In or about 2007 since a number of individuals as well as organisations from abroad were desirous of donating funds to these trusts for carrying out its various activities it was necessary to obtain the registration under the Foreign Contribution Regulations Act. Such a registration is granted only after careful scrutiny by the Home Ministry of the Union of India. There is also constant monitoring of accounts and each year accounts have to be filed with the FCRA authority which looks into the use or misuse of the funds by the concerned trusts. Thus both these trusts have obtained registration under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act and from that time onwards have been regularly filing their accounts with the concerned authorities. At no stage till now have the Income Tax authorities, Public trust authority or the FCRA authority have questioned the funding of either of the trust or of the applicants qua their personal accounts. In fact part of the total budget of CJP every year has been funded by the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture administered by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva. Other prestigious organisations such as Ford Foundation, (USA), HIVOS (Netherlands) have also funded Sabrang Trust and Citizens for Justice and Peace respectively. Apart from this HDFC as also CNN-IBN channels as also the international musicians Jethro Tull and Anoushka Shankar has provided funds at the time of flood relief in Mumbai (2005) and for Ambulances to run in Mumbai after the Terror attacks of 2008. None of these funds have been provided in relation to the museum. It needs to be noted that a substantial amount of these funds have been for activities such as relief for flood victims in Mumbai in 2005, two ambulances in Mumbai after the terrorist attack in Mumbai, etc. Besides, in 2002 a Citizens Tribunal headed by two retired Supreme Court Judges and one retired High Court Judge had been established by the Citizens for Justice and Peace for the purpose of fact finding report concerning the Gujarat carnage. The Tribunal’s Report came out in two volumes. Apart from this the trusts are also involved in assisting riot victims of Gujarat 2002 carnage by providing legal assistance from the trial court upto the Supreme Court including by providing legal aid and other expenses involved in handling such cases. This in fact has led to at lest 117 life imprisonments because of the efforts. This is unprecedented in independent India. It is in order to stop any further legal aid assistance and funding towards assisting victims of the Gujarat riots that the present action has been taken by the Respondents to in effect paralyse consistent legal aid to the Survivors of 2002. They have tried to do it in the past also through the proxy of Rais Khan, Zahira Shaikh and now with Firoze Khan. When they tried to do this with Zahira Shaikh the Supreme Court appointed a committee (at our instance) which completely exonerated me and Citizens for Justice and Peace. Subsequently, as is well known, Zahira Sheikh was convicted for perjury and sentenced to one year’s simple imprisonment. Similarly Rais Khan (who is sought to be as a witness in the present case) was also castigated in Sardarpura carnage trial by the Special Court, Mehsana in its final judgment in which 31 persons were convicted. Again, objections of Rais Khan in the Naroda Patia case were disregarded and not believed by the Special Court, Ahmedabad. Thus it is clear that in the past similar attempts have been made which consistently have been frowned upon right from the Sessions Court to the Supreme Court. I crave leave to refer to and rely upon the relevant documents in this regard when produced. I say and submit that it is not out of place to mention that even in the present case, the Respondent State of Gujarat who’s powerful functionaries have been exposed by this persistent and principled legal action are using a proxy war of intimidation and false cases to get at the applicant and the organisations concerned.
7. What the investigating agency is trying to do in this case is to aggregate all the amounts which the trusts have received over the past few years for various activities and falsely claim that those entire amounts were received for building a museum.
8. I submit that the initial complaint was by Firoze Khan Pathan in March 2013. However, for 9 months no effective action was taken after our final explanations to the Crime Branch in May 2013 as it obviously appeared to satisfy the authorities. It is only after the protest petition filed by Smt Zakia Jafri (which again has been supported from the outset by Citizens for Justice and Peace) was rejected by the Metropolitan Magistrate, Ahmedabad that the respondent swung into action possibly only in order to thwart any further support to Zakia Jafri filing an appeal in the higher court. In fact in the present case Zakia Jafri’s son has been falsely made an accused. It is not out of place to mention that among the powerful accused arraigned in the Complaint dated 8.6.2006, two are those who head the Ahmedabad police/Crime Branch presently. I say and submit that it is now clear that there is a nexus between the Respondent state of Gujarat, it’s powerful political functionaries arraigned in the Smt Zakia Jafri Complaint dated 8.6.2006, the powerful policemen who occupy prominent positions in the Ahmedabad Police and Crime Branch, Ahmedabad and the Complainant and Rais Khan, the witness in this case.
As mentioned above, what the respondent has done is merely to aggregate the funds received by the trusts and claimed that the same have all been obtained under the guise of creating a museum.
9. Between 1.1.2010 to 14.2.2014 I, Teesta Setalvad, received on an average about Rs.16,000 per month towards honorarium from Citizens for Justice and Peace. This payment came out of the CJP’s funds received from the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture (UNVFVT). It needs to be noted that I do not have any other permanent employment and work full time for these two trusts and apart from taking a nominal honorarium I have not taken any funds towards my salary. In fact Rais Khan who is cited as a witness in the case by the prosecution and who is alleged to have made various allegations against me has himself received large amounts from the trust towards his salary and the comparative chart during the period he was employed between the amounts received by him and by me is very revealing:
|1. Salary/Honararium paid by Citizens for Justice and Peace to Rais Khan and I, Teesta Setalvad|
|Year||Paid to Rais Khan||Paid to Teesta Setalvad (Secretary/ Chief Executive Officer)|
|(Rais Khan left in Dec 2007|
During his service with Citizens for Justice and Peace, Rais Khan enjoyed free accommodation in Ahmedabad, occupying part of the organisation’s rented premise. I, Teesta Setalvad, was not provided any such facility. Because of serious threat perception to Rais Khan and a lawyer for Citizens for Justice and Peace and myself, while round-the-clock CISF protection was provided to all of them through an order of the Supreme Court in early 2004, the vehicle hire charges of I, Teesta Setalvad, and Rais Khan were paid for by Citizens for Justice and Peace. Rais Khan availed of this free-of-charge vehicle facility, every time he stepped out of office-cum-residence, till he was in service until December 2007. This worked out to an expense of Rs 10,000-15,000 p.m. or more in case of Rais Khan. Rais Khan continues to enjoy this CISF Security even though it is known that he is no longer working for the purpose of ensuring justice to the perpetrators of 2002. The malafides of the Respondent State of Gujarat and it’s Crime Branch become clear as, even after obtaining details of the accounts of the Applicant and the Organisations she represents they have deliberately concealed from the Hon’ble Court
The monies “earned” by Rais Khan during his tenture with the organisation. It is for certain questionable behaviour of the said Rais Khan that his services were discontinued after which he has been co-opted in a proxy war, shopping for fora, being financed legally to harass and intimidate the Applicant and the Organisations. The motive is simple, browbeat an honest, sincere and principled legal aid effort to prosecute powerful perpetrators of 2002.
10. I shall now deal with separate allegations made concerning the various accounts which have been detailed herein.
11. Allegation concerning the FCRA Account of Sabrang Trust.
It is alleged that Foreign contribution totalling Rs.2,62,65,416 was collected between 10.4.2007 & 20.2.2014 for museum.
Response: The total amount of foreign contribution received during the above-mentioned period was Rs 13,344,248 (See table below):
|Year||Earmarked by donor for Project||Amount||Year’s Total|
|Gulberg Memorial Fund||50,000||152,593|
|2008-2009||KHOJ: School Education for a Plural India||400,721||400,721|
|2009-2010||Conflict Resolution/ Peace Building||3,453,423||3,453,423|
|2010-2011||Human Rights Education in Schools in Maharashtra||767,794|
|Conflict Resolution/ Peace Building||3,453,423||4,526,105|
|2011-2012||Conflict Resolution/ Peace Building||4,811,406||4,811,406|
|(till March 5)|
12. It is not clear as to how total foreign contribution of Rs. 1.33 crore become Rs 2.62 crore in Crime Branch’s (Ahmedabad) calculation. The answer seems to be simple: In order to ensure that money does not lie idle foreign contributions received in the savings a/c of Sabrang Trust were transferred from time to time to term deposits. On maturity, the principal deposit amounts along with interest were transferred back into the savings account. This is what any individual or organization with some amount of efficiency would do.
For the crime branch all such transfers from FDs on maturity to savings account were counted as FRESH RECEIPTS!! Detailed below are the amounts transferred from SB A/c to FDs year wise. The only way the Crime Branch Ahmedabad could have arrived at the highly exaggerated figure of Rs 2.62 crore as foreign contribution is by adding up the bank deposits transferred back to SB a/c as FRESH RECEIPTS!! This is another way that the IO Crime Branch has not just deliberately and mischievously misled this Court but has in effect committed the offence of doing so on oath.
|Year||Amount transferred to Fixed Deposits in the name of the Trust||Amount transferred back during the year to SB a/c|
13. Thus an amount of Rs. 12,609,823 (principal amount of deposit amount along with interest) transferred back to savings a/c has been included in the amount credited into the account as if it is fresh/original receipt. Thus, the amount supposedly received by CJP is nearly double the actual receipts on account of this accounting jugglery.
Allegation 2: Accused Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand and other accused got “crores into Sabrang Trust” ALL for the Gulberg Memorial.
Response: As may be seen from the details of foreign contributions received above, ONLY Rs. 50,000 was received during the entire period for the Gulberg Memorial. Sabrang Trust can produce correspondence from the donors (foreign contributors) to establish the purpose for which the contributions were received for showing it to the Court. Besides, the concerned person has already written to us stating that this amount can be used by the trust for any other purpose within the mandate of the trust. Incurring expenditures contrary to the agreement with the donors would in fact have amounted to breach of trust/contract. The Accounts were regularly submitted to the major donor institutions including the agency of the United Nations and at no stage any objection was taken by any of them.
Allegation 2: Teesta Setalvad got Rs.21,63,762 (between 1.10.2009 & 30.6.2013)
Response: As per the allegation, I, Teesta Setalvad, received a total of Rs 21,63,762 over a period of 45 months. This works out to an average remuneration (salary plus reimbursement of medical expenses) of around Rs 48,000 p.m. over a period of 45 months. I did not receive this amount by virtue of my being a trustee but for executing my duties as Project Director of the Peace Building/Conflict Resolution Project. The amounts received by me, Teesta Setalvad, were strictly in accordance with the budget lines approved by the Trustees of Sabrang Trust and the donors (foreign contributors). The auditor’s of Sabrang Trust too found such remuneration to be reasonable and commensurate with the tasks handled by her as Project Director of the Peace-Building/Conflict Resolution Project.
Allegation 3: Javed Anand received Rs 20,131,75 (between 1.10.2009 & 30.6.2013).
Response: In case of my co-applicant Javed Anand, the remuneration (salary plus medical reimbursement) averages around Rs. 47,700 p.m. He too received this remuneration for his responsibilities as Project Director-cum-Project Administrator of the Peace Building/Conflict Resolution Project.
Allegation 4: Sabrang Communications and Publishing Pvt. Ltd. received Rs. 39,08,380 (between 10.4.2007 and 14.2.2014)
Response: Sabrang Trust does not have separate office space, office equipments, administrative staff etc. for the projects supported by foreign contributions. Through the entire period of these projects and even earlier, the Board of Trustees of Sabrang Trust have had a costs-sharing (infrastructure/ establishment and staff costs) arrangement with Sabrang Communications and Publishing Pvt. Ltd. (The primary objective of Sabrang Communications as can easily be established through its Memorandum of Association is to promote communal harmony and peace in the country). The amounts to be contributed by Sabrang Trust towards the shared costs have been reviewed by the 6-member Board of Trustees of Sabrang Trust from time to time and appropriate resolutions passed keeping in mind the best interests of the trust. Over the 83 months period, the total amount contributed towards shared establishment and staff costs (9 employees) works out to an average of around Rs 47,000 p.m. It may be noted that during the auditing of annual accounts of the organization, the auditors examined the minutes books and satisfied themselves that the contribution by the trust towards the shared costs was in keeping with the Board’s resolutions.
Allegation 5: Kum Tamara Setalvad received Rs 1,38,270
Response: Tamara Setalvad is the daughter of Teesta Setalvad (me) and Javed Anand (co-applicant). A B.A. (Hons.) graduate, she was appointed through a resolution of the 6-member Board of Trustees to handle the responsibilities of Documentation and Dissemination of information as part of the Conflict Resolution/Peace Building project. Rs. 7,500 p.m. remuneration to her was considered more than reasonable by the trustees. (It may be noted that I, Teesta Setalvad and my co-applicant, Javed Anand, were not part of the trustees’ resolution for Tamara’s appointment in view of our relationship with her).
Allegation 7: Javed Anand’s credit card payment totalling Rs. 2,97,924
Response: Many of the expenses related to the projects of Sabrang Trust, as part of its approved and sanctioned budget, were paid through co-applicant Javed Anand’s credit cards. The same expenses were subsequently reimbursed to him by Sabrang Trust. There is no credit or debit card in the name of Sabrang Trust.
Overall allegation: Thus 97,96,511 have been transferred to private accounts. Plus salaries, travels and mobile phones of Javed Anand paid from this account.
Response: In view of the point by point clarifications above, the allegation of transfer to private accounts does not hold. Travel and telephone/mobile expenses were very much part of the approved budget lines by the various foreign contributors/donors, it is but natural for the travel and mobile phone expenses to be paid out of the trust’s account to the extent that such expenses were directly part of the project.
10. Statement of receipts and payments: CITIZENS FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE IDBI BANK, FCRA A/C 014104000204736
The foreign contributions received by Citizens for Justice and Peace during 10.4.2007 and 14.2.2014 totalled 1,15,64,687.
|Year||Earmarked by donor for Project||Amount||Year’s Total|
|2008-2009||Ambulance/Paramedic Service for Mumbai||867,330|
|Ambulance/Paramedic Service for Mumbai||1,000,000||1,867,330|
|Free Legal Aid||100,000|
|Ambulance/Paramedic Service for Mumbai||293,159|
|Ambulance/Paramedic Service for Mumbai||49,300|
|Free Legal Aid||24,296||1,162,255|
|2010-2011||Free Legal Aid to survivors of mass crimes||3,255,731||3,255,731|
|2011-2012||Free Legal Aid||22,205||22,205|
|2012-13||Free Legal Aid to survivors of mass crimes||2,430,618|
|Free Legal Aid||200,000|
|Free Legal Aid||200,000|
|Free Legal Aid||66,823|
|Free Legal Aid||100,000||2,997,441|
|2013-14||Free Legal Aid to survivors of mass crimes||1,359,725|
|(till March 5, 2014)||Free Legal Aid||900,000||2,259,725|
Notes on expenses:
1. Our bank records show a total receipt of over 1.15 crore, while the crime branch total is over 1.31 crore. We do not know where the crime branch, Ahmedabad got its figures from. It may be noted that Citizens for Justice and Peace did not receive any money towards the Gulberg Memorial.
2. I Received Rs.7,84,886 (between 1/1/2010 and 14/2/2014: This figure amounts to an average of about Rs. 16,000 p.m. to me, Teesta Setalvad, towards honorarium. This payment came out of the budget approved by CJP’s Board of Trustees and sanctioned/supported by United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture.
3. Sabrang Communications and Publishing Pvt. Ltd. was paid Rs.2,30,976: As in case of Sabrang Trust, to save on costs, Citizens for Justice and Peace too had a costs sharing arrangement (shared establishment and shared staff costs) with Sabrang Communications and Publishing Pvt. Ltd. (The primary objective of Sabrang Communications as can easily be established through its Memorandum of Association is to promote communal harmony and peace in the country). The contribution towards cost-sharing was reviewed and approved by CJP’s 12-member Board of Directors from time to time. It may be noted that during the auditing of annual accounts of the organization, the auditors examined the minutes books and satisfied themselves that the contribution by the trust towards the shared costs was in keeping with the Board’s resolutions.
4. The non-FCRA Indian a/c of Citizens for Justice and Peace with IDBI bank, a/c no. 014104000105705
Allegation: Rs 67 lakh odd have been transferred to employees/staff salaries, credit card payments, taxis, courier etc paid and Esha News Service.
Response: All expenses have been incurred strictly in keeping with the budget approved and sanctioned by the Board of Directors, in consonance with the stipulations of the donors/foreign contributors. Obviously, an organisation like ours needs employees and they have to be paid. Expenses on travel, procurement of information (Esha News) etc. were part of the approved budget.
Allegation: In last 6 years (from 12.4.2007 to 4.6.2013), from this account only Rs. 2,49,000 was spent on Legal Aid
Response: Given below are the year-wise expenses incurred on legal aid as per the audited statements of accounts:
|Year||Expenses on Legal Aid||Total over the period|
|2013-14||Yet to be audited|
3. Allegations Pertaining to non-FCRA savings a/c 014104000105705 for the period 26.2.2004 to 20.1.2014; total credit Rs.4,97,47,015
Allegation 3a: Cash debits Rs 61,58,000
Response: The total cash withdrawals over a period of nearly 10 years amounts to an average of around Rs. 50,000 p.m. For an organisation with a turnover such as Citizens for Justice and Peace, this is by no means abnormal. Payments to newspaper suppliers, local conveyance of staff, tea/coffer purchases, payments to electricians, plumbers, sundry purchases have all to be paid for in cash. It may also be noted that all expenses were in keeping with the resolutions of the Board.
Allegation 3b: Sabrang Communications paid Rs. 78,75,000 during the period 26.2.2004 to 20.1.2014
Response: Since its inception in 2002, Citizens for Justice and Peace has not had an office of its own, nor office equipments such as computers etc. With a view to costs savings, CJP’s Board of Trustees have had a costs-sharing arrangement with Sabrang Communications for sharing costs of office space, office equipment and other over heads as also shared staff. (The primary objective of Sabrang Communications as can easily be established through its Memorandum of Association is to promote communal harmony and peace in the country). CJP’s trustees have from time to time examined the total expenses, estimated the extent of usage of the shared facilities by CJP and accordingly resolved on its fair and reasonable contribution towards the shared establishment and staff expenses. The same has been reviewed from time to time and the resolutions passed form part of the Minutes of Meetings of CJP’s Board of Trustees. Over the 10 year period, average monthly contribution of Citizens for Justice and Peace towards shared costs works out to Rs. 66,000 per month. This includes the shared staff costs of 9 employees plus shared establishment/secretariat costs. It may be noted that during the auditing of annual accounts of the organization, the auditors examined the minutes books and satisfied themselves that the contribution by the trust towards the shared costs was in keeping with the Board’s resolutions.
Allegation 3: Fixed deposits Rs 40,00,000.
Response: This allegation itself reveals mala fides on part of the Respondent and does not require any comment. Transfering amounts not immediately needed for expenses from the savings account to term deposits so that the trust may earn extra interest income is no irregularity or crime. The crime branch could easily have confirmed from the trust’s accounts that such term deposits on maturity were regularly transferred back into the savings account.
Allegation 3d: Teesta Setalvad received Rs. 2,60,876
Response: It is not clear from our accounts records what this figure refers to. It may be noted, however, that the only salary/remuneration I, Teesta Setalvad, have ever received from Citizens for Justice and Peace has been the honorarium paid to her out of the budget approved by and the grants received from the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture, Geneva, from January 1, 2010 onwards which has earlier been explained (FCRA account). Other than this, I have only received amounts towards reimbursement of CJP’s expenses incurred through my personal Credit Card and daily allowance during my out of station tours on CJP’s (Citizens for Justice and Peace) work. The daily allowance of Rs 1,200 per day was towards sundry expenses incurred by me on my CISF security staff (as directed by the Supreme Court) and myself. Since inception of the organisation in April 2002, as Secretary/Project Director, I did not ask for or receive any remuneration/ honorarium/salary between April 1, 2002 and December 2009 (nearly 8 years).
Allegation 3d: Javed Anand received Rs. 49,500.
Response: Since CJP’s inception in April 2002 till date, my co-applicant Javed Anand has not received any honorarium/salary/remuneration from the organisation. CJP has only reimbursed him for the organisation’s expenses paid through his personal Credit Card.
Allegation C: Teesta Setalvad SB account details:
UBI Mumbai SB a/c 369102010003883
Allegation a: 1.1.01-31.12.01 amount credited “ZERO”
Allegation b: 1.1.02-31.12.02 amount credited “ZERO”
Response: This is a baseless claim. Details of deposits in the account, as can be easily established through bank records, during the relevant period are as under:
|Month||Total amt. deposited in a/c||Year’s total||Monthly average|
Allegation C ©: 1.01.03 – 17.1.2014 amount credited Rs 1,53,70,000
Allegation C(d): IDBI Account Teesta Setalvad SB Ac No 014104000142595 on 30.4.2005 to 15.1.2014 total amount credited is Rs 68,24,814
In Both accounts totally amounts (both saving accounts) to Rs 2.22 crores
Response: i) Other than remunerations/ honararium/salaries from Sabrang Trust and Citizens for Justice and Peace, I, Teesta Setalvad, have received amounts throughout the relevant period from consultancy, income from journalism, national and international awards, interest from savings accounts and bank deposits, gifts from Father (who was a leading lawyer in Bombay High Court and Supreme Court) and Mother, dividends and capital gains from redemption of Mutual Funds etc; ii) Consultancy income is only net of
amount received minus expenses incurred; crime branch seems to know nothing about this; iii) The amounts received by me, Teesta Setalvad, from Sabrang Trust and Citizens for Justice and Peace have already been detailed above; iii) the credit amounts cited in the two savings accounts are highly exaggerated for two reasons: (a) as any accountant knows, an amount transfered from one savings a/c to another of the same person is not a fresh receipt/income but a ‘contra’ entry of which the crime branch seems to be totally unaware; (b) an amount transferred from SB a/c to a bank deposit on maturity is transfered back to the SB a/c. This again is not fresh income/receipt but the crime branch seems to think otherwise. (c) Similarly, on redemption of a Mutual Fund, only the capital gains/loss needs to be taken into account as fresh income/credit. Crime
branch does not seem to be aware of this either. It is through such accounting jugglery that the crime branch has arrived at a highly exaggerated total of credits in my (Teesta Setalvad) two savings accounts.
Allegation D: Javed Anand SB account details:
UBI Mumbai SB a/c 369102010006884
Allegation a: 1.1.01-31.12.01 amount credited “ZERO”
Allegation b: 1.1.02-31.12.02 amount credited “ZERO”
Response: This is a baseless claim. Details of deposits in the account, as can be easily established through bank records, during the relevant period are as under:
|Month||Total amt. deposited in a/c||Year’s total||Monthly average|
Allegation D ©: 1.01.03 – 17.1.2014 amount credited Rs 96,43,000
Allegation D (d): d. IDBI MUMBAI SB Account Nos 014104000142601 on 30.4.2005-26.12.2013 amounts credited Rs 39,65,000. In both accounts together Rs 1.36 crores…
Response: i) Other than remunerations/ honararium/salaries from Sabrang Trust and Citizens for Justice and Peace, my co-applicant Javed Anand has received amounts throughout the relevant period from consultancy, income from journalism, national awards, interest from savings accounts and bank deposits, gifts from Father-in-law, Mother-in-law and sister, dividends and capital gains from redemption of Mutual Funds etc; ii) Consultancy income is only net of amount received minus expenses incurred; crime branch seems to know nothing about this; iii) The amounts received by Javed Anand from Sabrang Trust and Citizens for Justice and Peace have already been detailed above; iii) the credit amounts cited in the two savings accounts are highly exaggerated for two reasons: (a) as any accountant knows, an amount transfered from one savings a/c to another of the same person is not a fresh receipt/income but a ‘contra’ entry of which the crime branch seems to be totally unaware; (b) an amount transfered from SB a/c to a bank deposit on maturity is transfered back to the SB a/c. This again is not fresh income/receipt but the crime branch seems to think otherwise. (c) Similarly, on redemption of a Mutual Fund, only the capital gains/loss needs to be taken into account as fresh income/credit. Crime branch does not seem to be aware of this either. It is through such accounting jugglery that the crime branch has arrived at highly exaggerated total of credits in two savings accounts of Javed Anand (my co-applicant).
Allegation E: E. Tamara Setalvad (daughter); IDBI Bank Account SB Acct Nos 014104000259835 on 23.2.2011-14.2.2014 credited amounts Rs 6.21 lakhs
Response: As claimed by the Crime Branch itself and as already pointed out above, Tamara Setalvad received a total of Rs. 1,38,720 from Sabrang Trust, not by virtue of being daughter of Teesta Setalvad (me) and Javed Anand (co-applicant) but as an employee of Sabrang Trust as per a resolution of the Board of Trustees excluding both parents. Her other sources of income are firstly not pertinent to the case. Secondly, in her case too, ‘contra entries’, transfer of deposits on maturity back into savings a/c, etc have simply not been accounted for. That is how the highly exaggerated ‘credits’ amount is arrived at.
F: Alleged points for further investigation:
a. Sabrang Trust UBI Account FCRA Act Nos 369102010802885 and CJP IDBI FCRA MUMBAI ACCT Nos 01404000204736 and CJP SB Account Nos 014104000105705 to Sabrang Communications a total of Rs 1.20 crores broadly transferred
Response: As has been explained in detail above, both Citizens for Justice and Peace and Sabrang Trust had a cost-sharing arrangement with Sabrang Communications following resolutions from their respective board of trustees. All payments to Sabrang Communications were towards reimbursement of its share of casts as decided through resolutions of Board of Trustees of Citizens for Justice and Peace.
b. Sabrang trust UBI Mumbai FCRA Nos 369102010802885 to CJP IDBI FCRA MUMBAI ACT Nos 01404000204736 and SB Account Nos 014104000105705 a total of Rs 72,00,000 (lakhs) cash withdrawals have taken place.
Response: As has already been explained above, the average monthly cash withdrawals for payments for sundry services and supplies, conveyance, postage etc is less than Rs.50,000 p.m. in case of both organisations. As can be easily established through our accounts books, well over 80% of all expenses have always been through cheque payments.
c. CJP IDBI Nos 014104000105705 on 12.8.2005 Rs 5,00,000 (Five Lakhs) withdrawn. Why such a large withdrawal of cash is not explained?
Response: Firstly, before the present affidavit of the crime branch, the question was never raised, so the point of not explaining did not arise. Following the floods that devastated Mumbai and neighbouring districts in July 2005, killing several hundred and destroying property on a massive scale, citizens of Mumbai and certain organisations donated money to Citizens for Justice and Peace to provide badly and urgently needed relief to those affected. Out of the donations so received food grains, utensils, stoves, carpets etc had to be bought on an emergency basis and rushed to the flood affected. Since CJP was new to these suppliers, they insisted on cash payments and that is why Rs 5,00,000 had to be withdrawn. Again all these accounts are audited and approved.
d. From Sabrang Trust and CJP FCRA and SB ACCOUNTS amounts have been transferred to Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand and these FDs/Shares/ Mutual Funds for example ICICI, Reliance Capital, Prudential, Kotak Mahindra, Franklin Templeton etc have been invested and cash transfers have also happened.
Response: The payments received by me, Teesta Setalvad, and my co-applicant, Javed Anand, were as per approvals and resolutions of the respective Board of Trustees, as detailed above. What either did with the amounts so received by them from the two organisations or through other income is entirely their personal matter. In any event there has been no illegality committed.
e. Accused Nos 1 Teesta Setalvad and Accused Nos 2 Javed Anand from Sabrang Trust have personally benefitted to extent of Rs 40,000 each month.
Response: This has been responded to above. Neither of us ‘benefited’ as trustees but were compensated for our duties as Project Director and Project Administrator. As anyone familiar with Bombay Public Trusts Act is aware, there is nothing irregular about this.
f. Tamara Setalvad (daughter of accused 1 and 2) earned Rs 7,500 from Sabrang trust regularly.
Response: This has already been explained above.
g. From Charity Commissioner office Mumbai details sent to us, Sabrang trust has only 3 Trustees. (Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand and Amili Setalvad). Amili Setalvad is sister of A-1. No independent trustees, it’s a family trust especially created to collect foreign funds.
Response: Sabrang Trust had 6 trustees for the relevant period, not three. The other three trustees are not related to the three trustees named. It is therefore incorrect to claim that the trust has no independent trustees. Further, Sabrang Trust was registered in 1995; an application for registration of the trust under FCRA was made for the first time in 2007, a full dozen years later. Therefore the allegation that it was especially created to collect foreign funds is baseless.
As regards the Citizens for Justice and Peace the IDBI bank FCRA account, a chart above has detailed the foreign contributions received by the trust for the period 10.4.2007 and 14.2.2014. Our bank records show a total receipt of Rs.1.15 crores. However, the crime branch total aggregates the amount as approximately Rs.1.31 crore. It is not clear as to from where the crime branch got these figures. It may further be noted that the Citizens for Justice and Peace did not receive any money towards constructing the museum. In respect of the non-FCRA Indian account of Citizens for Justice and Peace with IDBI bank very curious observations are made by the crime branch. They seem to have claimed even to have a fixed deposit seems to be a crime. It is further claimed that Rs.67 lakhs have been transferred to the employees/ staff salaries, credit card payments, taxi, courier etc and Esha news services. Obviously, when we run an organisation we may hire staff and there are expenses incurred towards such expenditure etc. In fact all these expenses have been incurred in keeping with the budget approved and sanctioned by the board of trustees in consonance with the stipulations of donors / foreign contributions. All these expenses have also been disclosed before the public trust authority, income tax authorities and the FCRA authorities and there have been no queries concerning these expenses. The investigating agency has no business or authority and only one of the three authorities has the power in case it has any grievance. It is further alleged that in respect of this account only Rs.2,49,000 was spent on legal aid, whereas in fact the expenses of legal aid was more than Rs. 2 crore from the non-FCRA account alone as detailed above. In respect of non-FCRA account a further allegation is made that there are cash withdrawals of Rs.61,58,000/- for a period of over 10 years. This works out to Rs.50,000 per month which for an organisation such as CJP is extremely normal considering the payments to news papers, local conveyance to staff, payments to electricians, plumbers, sundry purchase etc. All these are against vouchers and have never been complained for by any of the authorities or any donors.
The motive of the Respondent State of Gujarat, Crime Branch Ahmedabad using in this filthy proxy war undesireable elements are doing so simply to tarnish the public mind and prejudice different fora. The Respondent State of Gujarat has stooped to an all time low in this war to prevent the further struggle for justice and redressal especially the appeal in the Smt Zakia Jafri v/s Narendra Modi and 59 Others case.
15. Whatever is stated above is reflected in our accounts as audited regularly by Chartered Accountants and as submitted to the Charity Commissioner, Income Tax Authorities, SRA Authorities and major donors. I submit that the Investigators have to first make out an offence and then search for evidence. In the present case what the Investigating Agency seems to be doing is to conduct a fishing inquiry, make wild allegations and then claim that an offence is made out. The allegation against the Applicants is that they have collected large sums of money to build a museam. Even after looking at the accounts the Investigating Authorities are unable to even allege as to how an offence under Sections 406 and 420 is made out against the Applicants. The entire exercise is an abuse of the process of law.
I submit that the FIR is in respect of so called deceit of Gulberg Society members in respect of the alleged museum. It is nobody’s case that they parted with the possession of any property to us. It is also nobody’s case that the property rates declined over a period to time thereby causing loss to any person. Besides no persons who gave any donation for the purpose of the museum (which aggregates to approximately Rs.4.5 lakhs given to Sabrang trust only) has complained about any alleged misuse. Besides there are three authorities established under law which alone can enquire into the details of accounts. These authorities are the Income tax authority, public trust authorities or the FCRA authorities. In the present investigation none of them have raised any queries and if at all anybody has any question concerning our account the same had to be raised by those authorities and all of which have also the powers to launch prosecution in case misuse of accounts. Therefore, there is no question of any further investigation of these matters let alone custodial investigation. The only reason for these wild allegations are made is due to sheer malafides. Besides the account speak for themselves. The investigating agency already has the accounts. Nothing is going to be gained by any custodial investigation as alleged. According to us no question remains unanswered and therefore the anticipatory bail ought to be granted.
Solemnly affirmed at Mumbai
On this 10th day of March, 2014)
Advocate for the Applicants