|Occupation:||Civil Rights Leader|
|Birth Day:||February 9, 1962|
|Height:||in centimeters - N/A|
|Weight:||in kg - N/A|
|Hair Color:||Salt and Pepper|
She has a philosophy degree and initially worked as a journalist.
Born in 1962 into a Gujarati Hindu family, Setalvad is the daughter of Atul Setalvad, a Mumbai-based lawyer, and his wife Sita Setalvad. Her paternal grandfather was M. C. Setalvad, India's first Attorney General. Setalvad is married to Javed Anand, a journalist turned minority rights activist. They have two children, a daughter and a son.
Setalvad's career as a mainstream journalist was a decade long. In 1993, in response to the Hindu-Muslim riots in Mumbai, she and her husband quit their regular jobs to start Communalism Combat, a monthly magazine. According to Javed Anand (Setalvad's husband and co-founder of Communalism Combat), the decision to break from mainstream journalism to start a magazine was because it was also a platform which gave them an opportunity to intervene in ways which they couldn't have otherwise. The last print copy of the magazine was printed in November 2012. Subsequently, they moved to the digital domain by starting a website, which has subsequently been inactive.
Setalvad and her husband, along with others such as Father Cedric Prakash (a catholic priest), Anil Dharker (a journalist), Alyque Padamsee, Javed Akhtar, Vijay Tendulkar and Rahul Bose (all film & theatre personalities) set up an NGO named "Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP)" on 1 April 2002. The NGO forthwith began to litigate in various courts against the alleged complicity of the Chief Minister and government of Gujarat state in the riots that had broken out shortly before. Their efforts met with partial success in April 2004, when the Supreme Court of India transferred the "Best Bakery case" to the neighbouring state of Maharashtra. At the same time, the court also overturned the recent acquittal of 21 accused and ordered that the investigation and trial be conducted afresh. By 2013, all the cases filed by CPJ had been dismissed at three levels of the judiciary (trial court, state High Court and the Indian Supreme Court) and only one appeal is pending. This is an appeal to the Supreme Court against a conviction handed out by the High Court to Maya Kodnani, a former minister in the government of Gujarat.
Zakia Jafri-CJP Special leave petition seeks a criminal trial of Narendra Modi, the then Chief Minister of Gujarat and the current Prime minister of India and 62 other politicians and government officials for alleged complicity in the Gujarat violence of 2002. The criminal conspiracy complaint alleges that in a meeting of senior police officers and officials convened by the then Chief minister Mr Modi on 27 February 2002 following the Godhra tragedy, he issued his "let Hindus give vent to their anger" directive. In all, there are 30 interrelated and closely interlocked allegations including
In response to the petition, the Supreme Court on 27 April 2009 ordered the Special Investigation Team (SIT) they appointed to undertake the investigation. The SIT under the Chairmanship of R. K. Raghavan was originally formed to investigate nine major cases of riots in Gujarat in 2002.
In April 2009, the Times of India ran a story claiming that the Special Investigation Team (SIT) set up by the Supreme Court of India to investigate and expedite the Gujarat riot cases had submitted before the Court that Teesta Setalvad had cooked up cases of violence to spice up the incidents. The SIT which is headed by former CBI director, R K Raghavan has said that false witnesses were tutored to give evidence about imaginary incidents by Teesta Setalvad and other NGOs. The SIT charged her of "cooking up macabre tales of killings".
The SIT submitted a preliminary report in May 2010. Chairman R. K. Raghavan submitted his comments to the report for perusal of the Supreme Court on 14 May 2010 Further investigation report was filed in November 2010. The Supreme Court in November 2010 appointed Raju Ramachandran as amicus curiae to assist the court in this case. The amicus curiae submitted a note dated 20 January 2011 to the Supreme Court.
In November 2010, Setalvad was accused of pressuring Zaheera Sheikh, the key witness in the Best Bakery case, to make certain statements, leading to the unprecedented transferral of the case outside Gujarat. In August 2005, the Supreme Court of India committee absolved her of the charges of inducement levelled against her by Zaheera and awarded a one-year jail sentence to Zaheera for perjury. In 2013 Tehelka in an undercover investigation discovered that Zaheera had been paid to alter her testimony. Tehelka recorded BJP member Madhu Srivastava, described by Tehelka as a "close associate of Narendra Modi" and Batthoo Srivastava describing how they had paid Rs 1.8 million to Zaheera.
On 15 March 2011, the Supreme Court directed SIT to examine the observations of the amicus curiae, to re-examine the entire evidence recorded and if some more evidence is required to be recorded, to do so. It observed that the SIT chairman's inferences did not match with the findings of the SIT probe. Thereafter the SIT examined more witnesses and recorded their statements and submitted a further investigation report on 24 April 2011. On 5 May 2011, during a hearing in the Supreme Court, Shanti Bhushan, the counsel for Zakia Jafri, alleged that SIT was a doing cover-up job and sought copies of the investigation reports. The amicus curiae Raju Ramachandran informed the court that he had received a copy of an affidavit filed by Sanjiv Bhatt that he was present at a 27 February 2002 meeting convened by the chief minister where instructions were given to teach Muslims a lesson. The Supreme Court ordered "The copies of the report, along with the comments of the chairman, be given to the amicus curiae, who shall analyse them in the light of evidence, statements of witnesses, and have his independent assessment of the entire evidence which has come on record". The court further said,"If the amicus curiae, on the basis of evidence on record, finds that any offence is made out against any person, he shall mention the same in the report". The amicus curiae Raju Ramachandran submitted his final report where he found sufficient evidence to make Mr Modi stand trial.
Thereafter, the Court directed the SIT to submit the final report along with the entire material collected by them to the trial court. The SIT was also given access to the reports of the amicus curiae submitted earlier to the court. The SIT did not agree with his conclusion and filed the closure report on 8 February 2012. The trial court on 10 April 2012 observed that SIT had not found any evidence for the prosecution of Modi or any of the top bureaucrats or police officials and had recommended that the investigation be closed.
The court gave the complainant, Zakia Jafri, the option of filing a protest petition However SIT raised various objections to giving all the investigation papers to the petitioner and finally on 7 February 2013, the Supreme Court asked the SIT to hand over copies of all the reports and investigation papers to the petitioners. The protest petition was filed on 15 April 2013
In April 2013, the SIT while opposing the protest petition filed by Zakia Jafri and CJP against SIT's closure report submitted before a local court that "Teesta Setalvad and others have falsified the complaint targeting the chief minister who had never said that go and kill people." Their lawyer further submitted that the so-called incident of Chief Minister (Narendra Modi) giving instructions (in the meeting) to high-level police officers not to take action against the rioters is a sole creation of Teesta Setalvad. There is no evidence to the same and that Setalvad was not present during the incident.
In 2013, twelve residents of the Gulbarg Society who were the victim of Gujarat riots, accused Setalvad of collecting donations in the name of riot victims but failing to use them for their benefit and sent a legal notice to her. They claimed that she had collected huge donations from national and international organisations in the name of providing financial assistance for reconstruction of houses or developing the society into a museum but it was not passed to the members of the society. They also sought to ban her organisation "Citizens for Justice and Peace" and prevent them entering the society to organise programmes. The Ahmedabad Crime Branch is conducting an inquiry into the matter.
On 13 March 2013, the official representatives including the secretary and chairman of the Gulbarg Cooperative Housing Society in a letter to the joint commissioner of Police, Crime Branch, Ahmedabad, informed him that the letter-head of the society had been misused by some residents and the claims being made by them were patently false since nothing had been parted from them. A similar letter was also released to the media. In a press release CJP and Sabrang clarified that CJP never sought nor received any money for the museum. Sabrang Trust had raised an amount of Rs 460,285 nationally and internationally from donors for the purpose of the museum and since the plan has been abandoned because of the spiralling real estate prices, the matter is between the trust and the donors which they will address when final decision is taken. All other funds, nationally and internationally raised, have been funds legitimately collected for activities that they publicly engage in. Their accounts are audited and submitted to the relevant authorities. Subsequent to the letter written by the Gulbarg Society members to the police, the police sent them a letter asking for the status quo to be maintained while investigations were in progress. Later, the Crime Branch claimed that the complaint did not have any substance and instead filed an FIR against Setalvad.
After a First Information Report was filed by the Ahmedabad police on 4 January 2014 Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand were granted interim bail. According to the judge, similar relief has been provided in the past when false allegations were raised. The bail application stated that "The FIR is a mala fide action of the Crime Branch, Ahmedabad, to intimidate a human rights defender. This is the fifth time that a false criminal case has been lodged since 2004 because of me and my organization's consistent legal support to the victims of 2002 riots ... Gulbarga cooperative housing society had been totally burnt down by politically motivated anti-social elements and 68 people had lost their lives in the massacre." It also said the accusation was brought by "powerful forces in Gujarat who wish(ed) to stymie the appeal in the Zakia Jafri case".
On finding that the Crime Branch, Ahmedabad instead of acting on his complaint had filed an FIR against Setalvad and others, the Secretary of the Gulbarg Housing Society, Firoz Gulzar Pathan moved the court complaining against Gujarat police's biased approach. The court sought a report from the Crime Branch. The Police responded by claiming that the complaint did not have any substance. This was countered by the complainant's advocate who maintained that the Crime Branch had not even bothered to question the complainant before shelving the complaint. This led the magisterial court on 15 February 2014 to direct the city crime branch to lodge an FIR and start investigation against former residents of Gulbarg Society who had made the complaint against Setalvad last year. On 28 November 2014, local court rejected pleas filed by activist Teesta Setalvad, her husband Javed Anand and their two NGOs seeking to de-freeze their bank accounts attached earlier by police in connection with the embezzlement case. On 12 February 2015, Gujarat High Court rejected Setalvad's anticipatory bail plea regarding the case. However she was given an interim protection by the Supreme Court of India and on 19 March 2015, a two-judge bench of the Court referred the issue involved in her case to a large three-judge bench.
Though cases against Teesta are still in courts it has been suggested by some journalists that Teesta is being framed and hounded by Gujarat Police because of her criticism of Narendra Modi, It is alleged that allegations of corruption against Teesta are concocted . In a signed article in Outlook magazine, published in March 2015, Indira Jaising wrote that Teesta's organization Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) did creditable work in obtaining convictions for 119 people (including a Minister) for participating in the Gujarat riots. Jaising goes on to say that :
In a public discussion at the Press club in March 2017, Teesta recounted that despite coming from a family steeped in a legal heritage, she decided to pursue a career in journalism after reading a book that her father had bought her called "All the President's men". She subsequently went to college, studied law for two years, dropped out and then graduated with a bachelor's degree in Philosophy from Bombay University in 1983 and started work as a journalist. She reported for the Mumbai editions of The Daily (India) and The Indian Express newspapers, and later for Business India magazine. Her first brush with communal violence came when she covered the 1984 riots in 1984 in Bhiwandi.
Teesta is the daughter of Atul and Sita Setalvad and she has two children, Tamara and Jibran, with Javed Anand
Currently, Teesta Setalvad is 60 years, 10 months and 1 days old. Teesta Setalvad will celebrate 61st birthday on a Thursday 9th of February 2023. Below we countdown to Teesta Setalvad upcoming birthday.