Crime Against Humanity
Highlights of the Supreme Court appointed committee's report
(Released by the apex court on August 29, 2005)
Clean chit to Teesta, Rais Khan, CJP:
“No inducement, threat, coercion or pressure whatsoever established (against Teesta Setalvad, others from CJP).”
“As per affidavits dated 3rd November, 2004 and 20th March, 2005 of Ms. Zahira, she stated that she was forcefully taken from Vadodara to Mumbai by Shri Rais Khan, agent of Ms. Teesta, and kept in confinement... (But) in Trial Court, Mumbai, she admitted that she was kept very well by Ms. Teesta and the fact of her taking forcefully does not find place in the statement before the trial court, Mumbai”.
“By putting… serious allegations against a very highly placed constitutional authority like NHRC that the statement recorded by Hon’ble the Chairperson himself along with two Hon’ble members of NHRC was substituted with an already prepared statement in Ms. Teesta office can not be relied upon and for such a decision I feel no necessity of any corroboration of any kind. However, as one affidavit dated 15th April, 2005 of Sh. Ajit Bharioke, Registrar, NHRC finds place on record and only because of this reason relevant extracts have been inserted in this report. Sh. Ajit Bharioke deposed that he was present there and that the statement was read over in Hindi to Ms. Zahira by him and after that Ms. Zahira signed the statement. At the same time Sh. Ajit Bharioke has categorically denied all the allegations including the allegation of changing the statement, nothing more is required to be discussed on this part.
The second challenge to this statement is that it was tutored by Ms. Teesta and that whatever was tutored Ms. Zahira stated in the same words. The tutoring pressurizing cannot be held as established looking into all the circumstances.
Third allegation of putting the words by Ms. Teesta in the mouth of Ms. Zahira can also not been accepted as the statement was recorded before the Hon’ble Members of NHRC and when the statement itself was translated and dictated by the Hon’ble Chairperson himself. In view of all this, such allegations cannot be accepted”.
Needle of suspicion points towards BJP MLA, Madhu Srivastava:
(Committee’s conclusion on the Tehelka.com video-expose)
(A) “Whatever the conversation among the persons is shown in the (Tehelka) VCD is established and it is the true picture of the affairs recorded at the relevant time.
(B) “On perusal of the same it can be said that before Sh Nisarbapu and Sh Ashish Khaitan it was said by Sh Madhoo Srivastava, Sh Chandrakant Bathu Srivastava and Sh Shailesh Patel that Rs 18 lacs were given by Sh Madhoo Srivastava to Ms Zahira for giving statement in trial Court, Vadodara in a particular manner of their choice and that was against the prosecution and in favour of the accused. The result is known that she refused to identify the accused at the spot of occurrence due to smoke.
(C) This was also the part of the conversation that for the same purpose, she was
paid Rs 2-3 lacs in Sh Shailesh Patel’s Chamber.
(D) There was some compromise between the parties.
(E) The net result of all is that this conversation between the above named
persons can be treated as established”.
It appears… that before and after recording of the statement of Ms. Zahira in Trial Court, Vadodara, at one time on 9th May, 2003 one telephone call was made through the cell phone of Sh. Madhu Shrivastava which was received by the cell phone of Sh. Nafitullah and after that at least 10 times calls were made from the telephone of Sh. Nafitullah to the telephone of Sh. Madhu Shrivastava and this continued till 2nd July, 2003. It is important on the ground that the statements of Ms. Zahira in the Trial Court, Vadodara were recorded on 17th May, 2003.
“…It can be believed that these telephonic contacts were made during the relevant and material period when the statement of the material witnesses including Zahira’s statement were being recorded by the Trial Court, Vadodara. As per the information received from the various mobile companies as quotes above, the following facts are treated to be proved.
1. that there was some conversation between the person having
mobile number 9824326505 and 2653122052 and
9825060542, on the dates and time mentioned in the tables.
2. that cell number 9824326505 was allotted to Sh. Nafitullah and
mobile number 2653122052 was allotted to Sh. Bharat
Thakkar and mobile 9825060542 was allotted to Sh. Madhu
Shrivastava. Sh. Madhu Shrivastava and Sh. Bharat Thakkar
both have admitted their cell phone numbers in their
respective statements recorded during the inquiry.
The fact that threats were given by Sh. Madhu Srivastava and Sh. Bharat Thakkar to Sh. Nafitullah was denied by all the three, in their statements recorded here during the inquiry proceedings. The facts as noted and established in the above para shows that some contacts were made at the time and the dates as mentioned in the above quoted two tables and when this established fact was denied by all the three persons, in such circumstances it can only be presumed that the fact of giving and receiving threats was alleged to be expressed by Ms. Zahira and Sh. K. Kumaraswami was true and their subsequent denial of these two statements is not correct”.
“In all these circumstances, it can firmly, be said that (there) appears a high probability of money changing hands and that (there) was allurement by which Ms. Zahira was induced for giving a particular statement in Trial Court, Vadodara which was supportive to the defence /accused and against the case of the prosecution”.
“Threat is one of the two factors appearing on record which can also be held responsible for material change of stand of Ms. Zahira… In view of the all, as discussed above, the fact which can be accepted, as highly probable, that money has exchanged hands and that was the main inducement responsible which made Ms. Zahira to state in a particular way in Trial Court, Vadodara although threat could have also played a role in reaching at an agreement. However, the element of threat cannot be altogether ruled out. One cannot loose sight of the fact that first contact over cell phone was made by Sh. Madhu Srivastava and Sh. Bharat Thakkar and not by Sh. Nafitullah. The evidence of Sh. Abhishek Kapoor about presence of Sh. Madhu Srivastava, MLA, in the Court at the time of testimony of Ms. Zahira can also be treated as an indication of this factor”.
Role of Vadodara Police Commissioner/Gujarat government suspect:
“S.N. Sinha, the (Police) Commissioner of Vadodara at the time of (Zahira Shaikh’s) Press conference dated 3rd November, 2004, was found attending the hearing of this Inquiry on 29th April 2005… Evidence of Ms. Teesta Setalvad was recorded on that date and there was no good reason for his presence during the inquiry proceedings or for him to be officially deputed by the Home department (of Gujarat government) for this hearing”.
“This fact cannot be lost sight of that Sh. Sudhir Sinha, Commissioner of police, Surat, who was earlier posted in Vadodara in the relevant month of the Vadodara Press Conference i.e. on 3rd November, 2004, attended the inquiry proceedings on 29th April, 2005. This fact has also been recorded in the appearance slip of that date. When a query was raised as to why and in what capacity he visited Delhi and appeared during Inquiry proceedings, in response of the same he sent his affidavit dated 13th June, 2005, in which he has mentioned that he attended the Inquiry for watching the proceedings on the direction of (Home Secretary), Gujarat”.
“Besides the expenditure admitted by the Jan Adhikar Samiti for the stay of the family at the Airport Hotel, Vadodra, and the Press Conference at Hotel Surya Palace, (on November 3, 2004) the expenses for the stay of Ms. Zahira, her brother Sh. Nafitullah and advocate Sh. Atul Mistry at the Silver Oaks Club, Gandhi Nagar, where they stayed for 5-6 days, are not found to be undertaken by the Jan Adhikar Samiti. The reasons for this movement have been differently explained as for approaching the High Court and the Mahila Aayog, by Sh. Nafitullah and Ms. Zahira, which makes their explanations unreliable. Ms. Teesta has alleged that this movement was made to meet senior government functionaries… who met the expenditure is not made clear.
“…That apart, Ms. Zahira, her mother Sehrunissa and her brother Sh. Nasibullah are residing presently at Bhai Lal Apartments in Makarpura, Vadodra. Jan Adhikar Samiti has not shown any expenditure on this rent while Ms. Zahira has stated that the rent is being paid by this of organization. As the family has been living there for a number of months, it is a relevant point how this expenditure is being met. The details of ownership of this flat have also not been supplied by Ms. Zahira despite asking. A conclusion of inducement in this matter is also likely.
It is an admitted fact that right from 3rd November, 2004, when for the first time to this last turn in the stand of Ms. Zahira appeared, till today Shri Atul Mistri, Advocate of Vadodara was seen associated with Ms. Zahira. According to the statement of Ms. Zahira on 6th August, 2005, she engaged Shri Atul Mistri as her Advocate and perhaps in that capacity Shri Mistri is appearing for Ms. Zahira. Nothing wrong can be presumed that if a party engages one Advocate for legal assistance on his or her behalf. However, a few peculiar facts, which find place on record, are appropriate to reproduce here.
First important fact is that Sh. Atul Mistri was working as an associate / junior advocate to the Senior Advocate Shri Rajendra Trivedi (Diwedi) of Vadodara who was appearing on behalf of the accused persons in Best Bakery case. This fact has been informed by Sh. Mohd. Vora in his statement dated 25th May, 2005 at page 5 (English Translation) [Page 106 of Vol. II] and by Sh. Nisar Bapu in his statement dated 30th June, 2005 at page 34-35 (English Translation) [Pages 275-276 of Vol. II].
The question related to this fact was asked to Ms. Zahira, her reply to which was “she does not know, she only knows that Shri Atul Mistri is her advocate.”
This indicates that Ms. Zahira again has come into contact with defence side”.
Mrs. Kanwaljit Deol, Joint Commissioner of Police (assisting the SC Committee) has submitted a letter on 18th August, 2005 along with enclosures as well as from the text of the letter itself that there were two telephone contacts between Sh. Nasibullah Sheikh (the younger brother of Ms. Zahira) and Sh. Bharat Thakkar (Brother of one of the accused in Best Bakery case Sh. Sanjay Thakkar) one at 8.54 p.m. and another at 11.06 p.m. on 29th October, 2004. The time of cell phone contact is very crucial as it appears that it is either on the same day or one day before their departure from Bombay to Vadodara. This is also an indication of the same theory.
Zahira a “self-condemned” liar:
“I feel no hesitation to mention that Ms. Zahira is not such a lady who speaks the truth she has developed an image of a self-condemned liar whose statements alone cannot safely be accepted”.
“It can undisputedly be said that the phrase, “To have fruits of heaven out of hell”, has now been established synonymous to Ms. Zahira who once earned public sympathy… (She) has made concerted efforts and has engaged herself in having cash/ comforts from every possible corner”.
“With regard to the fact whether she appeared before Nanavati Commission on 20th March, 2002 to submit her affidavit or not, … earlier to 6th August, 2005, her stand was that she appeared before Nanavati Commission on 20th March, 2002. But all of a sudden on 6th August, 2005 in her statement, she resiled from the earlier stand”.
Zahira family “appears rich” after incident
“(T)he receipts and the investments of (Ms. Zahira’s family), part goes very high on a comparative study of the accounts. After the incident it appears that the accounts of the family are rich”.
“The balance sheet of investments and receipts (of Ms. Zahira’s family) doesn’t include the daily expenditure, for which it can be presumed that a considerable amount must have been spent in comparison to the regular source of income”.