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Court rejects Teesta’s anticipatory bail plea

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A Mumbai court today rejected the anticipatory bail plea filed by human rights activists Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand. Teesta and her husband had moved for relief against likely arrest after the CBI raided their house and offices in Juhu on July 14. “I am shocked and aggrieved. My sympathisers believe that it’s a move to intimidate and possibly eliminate us by the power,” Teesta said after the hearing. The CBI prosecutor had opposed their plea on the ground that it was a serious crime that requires their custodial interrogation. Teesta and others have been accused of violations of the foreign funding law. The FIR registered by the CBI is against directors of Sabrang Communications and Publishing Pvt Ltd—Setalvad, her husband JavedAnand and Peshimam Gulam Mohammed for alleged violation of provisions of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act by conspiring to receive funds from abroad without permission from the home ministry. Mihir Desai, Counsel for Teesta and Anand said no arrest or custody was necessary in a case like this especially since she had already written to the agency offering to cooperate with all documents and files they need to look at. The case is that Sabrang Trust and Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) run by Teesta and her husband were running Communalism Combat a magazine which they co-edited and published with foreign funding. The new law prohibits receipt of foreign funding by editors, columnist, correspondents, printers or publishers of a paper. The Home Ministry’s case is that of an alleged fund of over Rs 1.15 crore received between 2009 and 2013, most of it was spent on legal aid, not “educational and economic” purpose which the funds were received for. Teesta’s case is that the allegations, raid and the case is trumped up and a clear attention to “intimidate and harass”. She said she had broken no law. “No laws have been broken by us. This is a continuation of the persecution and witch hunt first launched by the Gujarat police in 2014 then under the dispensation that rules Delhi. The CBI has taken the same documents that we had voluntarily on inspection given the MHA (FCRA Dept)…the search was can attempt to intimidate and humiliate.”

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