Teesta Setalvad unmasked

Teesta Setalvad unmasked

Teesta Setalvad unmaskedTeesta Setalvad, a Mumbai-based journalist, who, like former IAS officer Harsh Mander, shot to national and international fame due to high profile activism over the post-Godhra riots in Gujarat in March 2002, has been unmasked in a most unseemly manner. Over the past decade, Setalvad survived controversies with former protégé Zahira Sheikh and employee Rais Khan Pathan, besides a Gujarat Government investigation into illegal exhumation of graves, thanks to unstinted backing from the media, the Supreme Court, the Congress and the UPA Government.

But now she has fallen foul of the residents of Gulbarg Society whose cause she vociferously espoused. Setalvad has been publicly accused of the same crime that Best Bakery survivor Zahira Sheikh once accused her of — collecting money in the name of the riot victims and failing (or refusing) to distribute (or even share) it. She overcame the dispute with Zahira by demonising the young girl, but now residents of Gulbarg Society have sent her a notice demanding that she distribute the funds she collected among the riot victims. Relations have soured to the point that Setalvad failed to attend the memorial service for victims this year.

The residents (all Muslims) are demanding that the money “collected over the dead bodies of those who died in this society” must be divided among the riot victims as it “has been taken in our name”. Claiming that the residents were unaware that a trust had been formed for making the collections, they said that what the human rights activist had done “amounts to cheating”.

The dispute goes back to 2006 when Setalvad proposed to purchase the 5,200-square-metre Gulbarg Society land from the residents to set up a museum. The deal failed to materialise, but Setalvad’s Trust collected donations, which the residents say must be distributed among riot victims.

This is not Teflon Teesta’s first brush with controversy. Former aide Rais Khan Pathan accused her of tampering with witness affidavits when at least six women of Naroda Gam denied before the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team in 2008 that they were raped during the riots. The witnesses said they did not know this was being said in the affidavits as the documents were in English, a language they were not familiar with.

More recently, in January 2013, Rais Khan accused Setalvad’s NGO, Citizens for Justice and Peace, of violating the provisions of the Foreign Contributions Regulations Act regarding receipts of funds from abroad. He demanded cancellation of CJP’s FCRA registration and initiation of criminal proceedings against its trustees.

Pathan averred that CJP’s FCRA permission was under the economic and education categories, but the NGO had no such activities. Infact, CJP, as per its constitution is a non-political, registered social organisation established to promote communal harmony, make legal interventions to prosecute those guilty of killing innocent citizens and assist others petitioning before the courts for redressal of grievances.

Setalvad’s worst victim by far is young Zahira Sheikh who, like Rehmatnagar tailor Qutbuddin Ansari, was projected as the female face of the Gujarat riots, and exploited to the hilt to demonise Chief Minister Narendra Modi, while building the profiles and careers to his tormentors.

Now, as voices against Setalvad’s functioning get louder, it may be in order to mention some facts. Zahira Sheikh lost several family members in the attack on the Best Bakery, owned by them. Zahira’s testimony in the Vadodara fast-track court in June 2003 led to the acquittal of 21 accused persons. But in July 2003, she was airlifted to Mumbai where she was warmly received by Javed Akhtar; here she claimed she had testified out of fear.

Setalvad then whipped up great frenzy, drawing the National Human Rights Commission into the fray. The NHRC asked the Supreme Court to transfer the riot cases out of Gujarat. The Supreme Court duly obliged by sending the Zahira Sheikh and Bilkis Bano cases to Mumbai and directing the Gujarat Government to re-examine all other cases.

Then, in 2005, Zahira Sheikh accused Teesta Setalvad of physically controlling her from July 6, 2003 to November 3, 2004 and tutoring her to give a certain type of testimony in court. She said the affidavit submitted to the NHRC in the name of Zahira Sheikh by Setalvad (600-odd pages of documentation) was unsigned! They were, Zahira sneered, mere pamphlets.

In other words, the NHRC and the Supreme Court had acted without scrutinizing the documents – that is, without legal basis. Unfortunately, Zahira was denied the right to cross-examine the then NHRC chairperson AS Anand when she said that an oral testimony given to the chairman and two members of the Commission differed from the record NHRC presented to the Supreme Court. This was a serious allegation, but it was brushed aside by the Apex Court which continued to give a free run to Setalvad.

Zahira Sheikh was the first to demand a probe into Teesta Setalvad’s post-Gujarat assets. Instead, the Apex Court appointed a probe committee headed by Registrar General BM Gupta and punished the feisty victim for perjury, startling even senior jurists. The Court also ignored reports beginning to emerge in the media about witnesses claiming to have received money for giving testimony in the post-Godhra trial cases.

As if this were not enough, in December 2005 Teesta Setalvad illegally exhumed bodies of Gujarat riot victims from graves near Pandarwada. When the State Government initiated action against her on grounds of fabricating false evidence, tampering with evidence, criminal conspiracy and outraging religious feelings, the apex court stayed criminal proceedings against her and called it a mala fide case and a “spurious” case to victimise Setalvad.

Teesta Setalvad has been richly rewarded for her activism with a plethora of national and international awards, including the Nuremberg Human Rights Award 2003, Parliamentarians for Global Action ‘Defender of Democracy’ Award, jointly with Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand 2004; M.A. Thomas National Human Rights Award from the Vigil India Movement 2004, Nani A Palkhivala Award 2006, and Padma Shri 2007.

But now her aura of greatness is beginning to falter. With her, the National Human Rights Commission and the Supreme Court cannot evade public scrutiny of their actions and attitudes in the Gujarat riots cases. The young orphan, Zahira Sheikh, was made to suffer terrible victimization, and has since vanished into oblivion; she deserves a public apology and decent compensation.

It is also imperative that the accounts of Setalvad, and indeed all NGOs associated with the Gujarat riots, are audited to see how much money they collected and what relief was actually distributed to the victims.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in this article are the author's personal opinions. Information, facts or opinions shared by the Author do not reflect the views of Niti Central and Niti Central is not responsible or liable for the same. The Author is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

  • http://ynsaripa.wordpress.com Yoga

    People like Teesta are not any less violent than the rioters or the Godhra arsonists. Absolute cheats, reaping rewards over dead bodies, and then claim Gandhian peace!

  • http://twitter.com/bharatjohnson Johnson Thomas K

    The tragedy of India is its substandard judiciary which creates the perfect ecosystem for massive corruption including in the judiciary. Already the head of India’s national human rights organization is a tainted former Chief Justice of India….corruption is a rule of law problem and all corrupt countries have a compromised, biased and bad English speaking judiciary be it in Nigeria or across the British Commonwealth. Judiciary is one pillar of Dharma which people can approach when justice is denied to them by the state but Indian judiciary with its bad English is so user “unfriendly” not only because of the bad English in a country with 30% illiteracy that too in Hindi and the regional languages let alone English but also because of other duress like delay, nepotism, corruption, incompetence, bias, conflict of interest….the list is sort of never ending! The simple truth that two of the cardinal principles of Indian Constitution namely socialism&secularism are not defined in the Constitution or in any official gazettes either in English or in any Indian languages point to the mischief of the Indian Judiciary. Why is socialism and secularism a state secret? In Hindi&Sanskrit the same imported socialism and secularism can be called SADBHAVANA AND SAMAJVAD but the Indian judges are allergic to Indian languages!The truth that Indians in all rule of law countries are excelling in every field proves that the bane of India is the Indian judiciary.

    • Badari Narayanan

      Well said. Our judiciary needs significant overhaul. Outright bias has become acceptable. Many judgements (not related to the riots) are outright unconstitutional and worthy of being buried or forgotten. Time bound judgement is not the norm nor is there review of judgements, the standards have been falling steeply.

  • Rajalakshmi

    Right from that time when Teesta the devil appeared S.Gurumurthy wrote in detail exposing all her machinations. How it is Teesta along with her husband Javed ( not javed akthar lest shabana azmi should get nervous, jealous & insecure) & certain others WANTONLY ORCHESTRATED Godhra train arson.

    The entire media should be PUNISHED by us Hindus as the harm done by them is THAT UNPARDONABLE. Even suave seemingly moderate Saeed Naqvis were blaming HINDUS who allegedly “drank tea sold by muslim tea vendors & left without paying which made the muslims go angry & set the Karsevaks on FIRE”. Such a preposterous statement from Saeed Naqvi went unchallenged. And Farah Naqvi equally articulate in English suave yuppie telegenic gallivanting around Malaysia , Indonesia , Singapore etc presenting so many “different varieties of ISLAM” eating various cuisines complained on Indian tv sitting beside Swapan Dasgupta ” milijhuleeeee is missing from Hindus aiyoaiyoaiyo”.

    Saeed Naqvi even hastened to defend M.F.Hussein breast beating how he was actually thinking of his long lost mother & missing motherly love while painting his controversial scribblings squiggles & streptococcus touted as “great art”.

  • Rajalakshmi

    ” Teesta Setalvad illegally exhumed bodies of Gujarat riot victims from graves near Pandarwada. When the State Government initiated action against her on grounds of fabricating false evidence, tampering with evidence, criminal conspiracy and outraging religious feelings, the apex court stayed criminal proceedings against her and called it a mala fide case and a “spurious” case to victimise Setalvad”.

    HINDUS march ahead & TWEAK the ears of equally dangerous DEVIL Brinda Karat sister in law of Prannoy Roy wife of Prakash Karat the COMMUNIST TERRORISTS as she was screaming loud Baba Ramdev’s ayurvedic medicines allegedly “contained some skull powder”. ASK them to focus on gravediggers & LIARS like Teestas & Seema Mustafas.

  • Rajalakshmi

    LOL….at ” Nani A Palkhivala Award “.

    HINDUS WAKE UP ! Do not go effusive repeating the hackneyed “sugar dissolved in milk” & allegedly persecuted Parsis blah blah. Whichever Parsi dissolved sugar in a bowl of milk is LONG GONE & DEAD.

    I had earlier mentioned Nariman. Now this Palkhivala whose very name makes most Indians catch their breaths with awe & reverence.

    This very same Nani A Palkhivala made shockingly disparaging flippant remarks on OUR Kaanchi Paramacharyar that was published in Times of India.
    His comments unambiguously betrayed Palkhivala had NOT read & understood AT ALL yet hastened alacritously to pass derogatory comments on OUR KAANCHI PARAMACHARYAR.

    I thought how come such a shallow fool is being praised as the (sic) “best legal luminary” ever to appear in the firmament of indian sky yada yada.

    HINDUS stop circumambulating around useless celebs like Palkhivalas , Abdul Kalams , Sachin Tendulkars etc etc.

  • Bharati

    Teflon Teesta (well said!) made an ass of our law – http://www.vijayvaani.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?aid=305

  • http://twitter.com/kaarmic1981 Phoenix

    Now that her bluff has been called, the Government and the various other Human Right Bodies should take back the award and award money given to her. Since she has collected donations for a particular cause and has diverted thesse funds for other purposes, also her attempt to fully subvert the truth in Gujarat, sounds like a larger conspiracy.

    Complete probe is required into Teesta, her associates, her bank accounts adn her media publishing house.

    We need to get to the bottom of this.

  • Sayan Sen

    A person can be termed guilty only when the allegations against that person are proved in the court of law, not in the court of internet Hindus. :) If as per the above logic, Mr. Narendra Modi is not guilty of aiding a state-sponsored genocide then Ms. Setalvad is also not guilty of the above-mentioned charges. Day by day, the internet Hindus are becoming more and more intolerant. Moderate Hindus like me form the base of the BJP and I regard BJP (including Mr. Modi) to be politically centre-right. These internet Hindus are doing a great disservice to Mr. Modi’s chances of becoming the PM of India by alienating the moderate Hindus like me who have always voted for the BJP. Even if Mr. Modi gets elected as the PM of India, he will have to take oath under the “secular, socialist” constitution of India, not under some “Hindu, fascist” constitution. If Mr. Modi does not pretend to be secular, he will end up like Mr. Romney. :) We, the moderate Hindus (the majority of India) are committed towards “Sarva-Dharma-Sambhava” i.e. secularism. :) Internet Hindus can leave India and set up a Hindu version of Pakistan. :P

    • Hindu

      Stupid people like you are more damaging to India than anybody, you moron where will you fit if we made a separate Hindu nation! Will you then embrace Islam?

      This is just freedom of expression, niti central and the readers are not giving any verdict or charging her for her alleged crimes!

      You can go to Pakistan if you can not tolerate freedom of speech and democracy!

      • Rajalakshmi

        This ‘sayan sen’ is as DEADLY as Teesta Setalvad.

        BEWARE ! Should be banned from niticentral.Rightfully belongs to barkha dutts & vikram chandras.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1287795381 Shirish Dave

      As per Modi, Secular means India First.

    • RavishJames

      “A person can be termed guilty only when the allegations against that person are proved in the court of law, not in the court of internet Hindus.” So which court of India has said Modi is responsible for 2002 riots? Then why the hell are you blaming him? Aren’t you ashamed of yourself? You don’t even follow what you preach.

  • Hindu

    Exposé this thug to all international agencies who have given her awards.

    In India I have a strong feeling that she could have been planted by UPA govt to damage Modi. I have seen a pic of Sonia giving her an award- most likely thanking her at that time ‘mission accomplished’

    Teesta will now be juggling for her rewards in her Islamic paradise because she has cheated her muslim brothers and sisters!
    By the way men get 72 hoories what do women get!

    I pray for the safety of Shree Narendra Modi- God please keep him safe, well and give him the strength to fight all the hurdles that come along his path.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000033600789 Arish Sahani

      All converts are poor and saudi have used them in each nation by giving them a book costing say RS 100 and making them hate their own nation and culture and make them kill for undelivered promise after death while they( saudis) enjoying this earth and converts daughters.

    • hindu

      You seem to be too naive! she achieved all those awards just for that , if she was truthful and a true social activist by heart- she would not have gained a single award

      These international organizations pour money for one purpose- Hindustan ko tod do, vivado se tukde kar do!! that is the mission!

  • Rajesh

    raja lakshmi I fully agree with you. r u Telugu?

    • Rajalakshmi

      My mother tongue is Tamil. But my father & paternal grandparents were very fluent in Telugu & Tamil. Chaste Telugu. Were admirers of Ghantasala & Balamuralikrishna etc.

      My paternal grandmother told me several times P.Susheela is actually related to us in a distant way. They lived for certain years in Andhra Pradesh ( Vijayanagaram , Nellimarla etc). She NEVER told lies.If she said something it cannot BUT be the TRUTH. Hence I AM related to P.Susheela.
      That makes me sssso happy.

  • V.N.Seetharam

    Thomas K has said it well. When we were saddled with a CJ like Balakrishnan
    an absolute moron but a criminal and goon invested with the IQ required of a person to thwart, molest and murder justice which is the only surviving system to sustain our democracy, the country was sitting on a time bomb. the judiciary too has been steadily emasculated and Sonia the supreme demon of democracy and parliamentary accountability ably assisted by an indefatigable set of goondas like Mulayam and Mayawati, Karunanidhi another supreme looter and a political animal of voracious appetite have joined the fray.The idea of a nation is in peril and communal arsenals like Teesta are a shame and insult to society. She is a strange beast and her actions confirm her origin. People like her also enjoy the limelight due to Modi bashing Sonia’s boot licking media and a host of amoral Mani shankars and Dig vijays

  • Shreerang

    Great article, Sandhyaji

  • Priyadarshi Dutta

    Eminently readable and instructive! Hope her innings will be over soon. But I would prefer to call Teesta Setalvad simply as Mrs. Javed. Though married to Muslim, and a practising Muslim herself, she retains her Hindu name merely to befool the public. All said and done a Hindu name has a legitimacy and acceptability in India that a Muslim name does not have. It would not have been easy for Teesta to play her game under a Muslim name. Say Ram Vilas Paswan who finds everything loathsome in Hinduism, and everything praiseworth in Islam will not formally become a Muslim or assume a Muslim name. He knows in heart of his hearts that his political legitimacy will be lost even amongst his Dalit followers. Thus deny Teesta the brand equity of her Hindu name.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=561884526 Kishore Chandra Das

    Teesta has always been a dubious character and all know about her machinations except our respectable judiciary with the Supreme Court at the apex. The media has been playing an equally dubious role vis-à-vis Godhra and post-Godhra riots as well. In fact the media and the people who normally show their faces in the media for any and every discussion, have always exhibited a pronounced bias against anything Hindu. To them any ‘Hindu’ and anything to do with the ‘Hindus’ is always wrong. No ‘expose’, in such a situation, can really daunt or discourage these incorrigible perverts. Nothing can change unless and until the ‘Hindus’ in general shake off their lethargy and complacency, and come to assert their legal and moral rights.

  • sg

    wish ful thinking if you think that alls well her by writing against teesta. everyone knew after about a year or two abou the cases that she was filing against modi were fabricated. but what did the courts do and has the goi taken back the awards they presented her with. she has nothing but venom in her and can only spit that. expect no goodness but a tool to keep modi out of power at what ever the cost. as if the cases fall flat he would no longer be called a nero, hitler etc and a strong candidate for pm


    Sad as passage of time we notice how one sided JUDICIARY HAS BEEN IN PASSING EVER SO MANY JUDGEMENTS, BEIT HIGH COURT OR S.C .The law has been diff for gujarat & all other states.UNDER INSTRUCTIONS FROM DELHI DURBAR ,the judiciary has lost all its credibility, & stooped to such levels ,ever so many judgemnts become questionable.




  • Jitendra Desai

    As stated by “Hindu” above,this thug should be exposed internationally.Why not circulate this article to all those agencies abroad who donated money out of some misplaced concern for the justice?How tragic that it has taken more than a decade for the residents of Gulbarg society to realise that they have been taken for a ride.

  • Sunny

    Oh man!!! what crime did our forefathers do when during partition they let the Muslims stay here…..
    I am from Uttar Pradesh…..the state with largest Muslim population in India……I bear testimony to the havoc bein reeked by Muslims in the name of religions. A century is not much time….seems as if the year 1910 was just yeterday…the chain of events rushes past the eyes….
    similarily a century shall pass in the blink of an eye…Witnessing the persecution of Hindus in their own home is so heart rending….We need another Shankaracharya…..RSS and BJP have disappointed me utterly…..these are tough times……

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000033600789 Arish Sahani

    Teetsa is like an intellectual Taliban. We have different kind of Taliban .She is of intellectual type very dangerous as they get support from media too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1287795381 Shirish Dave

    Teesta should be arrested and put behind the bar for her arbitrary actions and putting others in miserable conditions.

  • ank

    kyon piche pade ho teesta ke yaar religion se upar uth ke socho

    aur bhi gum hai zamane mein ek mohabbat ke siwa

  • Dev

    Teesta is Congress sponsored terrorist….Its shame how our media has given her so much importance…We dont need Pak based terrorists, when we have such sympathizer at home

  • Rajnesh Sharma Chandigarh

    Teesta Setalvad is a useful tool for congress , who has bribed witnesses, filed false affidavits, and
    committed repeated perjuries in court. Teesta’s usefulness is nearing an end as she may soon land up in
    jail, Grouped with anti national elements she know one thing how to tarnish the image of modi.Ever she
    visited the thousands kashmiri migrant who were thrown out living in hell like condition.God will bless her
    because she will celebrate her next birthday in hell. ameen




  • Ramani.K

    Testa Setalvad can join the so called human right activists like Medha Pathak, Mallika Sarabhai, Arundhati Roy who emassed so much wealth by projecting themselves as saviours of the society. They think they can fool people with their ideas. Oh God save India from such simhikas ( demon who is killed by Hanuman in Ramayana ).

  • Rajnesh Sharma Chandigarh

    Teesta Setalvad is a useful tool for congress , who has bribed witnesses, filed false affidavits, and
    committed repeated perjuries in court. Teesta’s usefulness is nearing an end as she may soon land up in jail, Grouped with anti national elements she know one thing how to tarnish the image of modi.Ever she visited the thousands kashmiri migrant who were thrown out living in hell like condition.God will bless her because she will celebrate her next birthday in hell. ameen

  • http://opsudrania.blogspot.com/ Tejpal

    Teesta Setalvad has been propped up by opposition politicians to malign and finish Modi.

  • Chiman Antala

    She is a beach of lowest category you can imagine. She can fabricate any thing to grab the foreign recognition. Is she a Muslim beach ? Her name does not sound that. But her hunger for money and recognization does sound that. If proven in court of law her illegal activities she should be sent behind the bar for rest of her life.