Teesta’s Illegal Detention

Rukmini Sen

This writer was present at Teesta Setalvad's house from around 4 PM. The ATS was in her bedroom. Teesta was sitting on her floor surrounded by ATS officers. Her lawyer was reading the FIR. Was there a warrant? Teesta said "NO". She also said in front of all of the officers, "They pushed me to the wall and held me and hurt me", she showed the black bruise on her left upper arm.

Teesta said, "I received a call from Noida CISF asking about how many people I had in my security. I told them I don't answer questions on my security over phone."

 Teesta said, "I was told Gujarat ATS will just question me at Santa Cruz Thana. Then they gradually revealed they will take me to Gujarat".

Teesta then asked the ATS officer who had identified himself as Jasmine, "to follow procedure. You have said it's detention. Not arrest. Then I will go to my Thana and register a complaint that you are kidnapping me without a warrant".

At Santa Cruz, officer Jasmine Patel and the lady sub-inspectors tried their best to not let Teesta enter the Thana.

They pushed her and intimidated her. Teesta however made her way into the Thana and spoke to the media aloud that they were not letting her register her complaint. And that ATS Gujarat wasn't carrying any warrant for arrest. The detention was illegal. She gave a written complaint at Santa Cruz police station. The Mumbai police followed all procedures and took down the names of all the ATS officers who had come there.

It is important to mention that Teesta's phones were seized without any punchnama at Nirant, her home in Juhu.

She insisted she would speak with the IO otherwise not move. It was past midnight by now. There was sign of few people on the road. After much negotiation ACP Chudasama, the IO from crime branch came on the phone. She spoke to him and said they can't take her phones without punchnama.

The phones were switched off, handed over to other friend not to Teesta with a word that it won’t beused.

Teesta told the IO and the officers from ATS that she would cooperate as she had all this while but they must follow procedure. When they asked her if she wouldn't use the phones why did she want them. She said because that is her right to privacy as a citizen and human rights activist and it was their duty to follow law and procedure. Why would they want to keep her phones if they were not using them? Why was it unusual to ask for one's phones?

Why was it unusual in their eyes to being asked by a citizen to follow procedure?

At 8 am ACP Chudasama was in office. He met Teesta. She made a verbal complaint about how her detention was illegal. How her officer had pushed her, abused her, seized her phone. She ended her complaint with the statement that “This is a political case. My arrest is illegal".

Teesta told ACP Chudasama that she would cooperate in all investigations as she had always done before but all questioning must happen after she was presented in front of the magistrate. That was the correct procedure she asserted. She also requested ACP to meet her lawyers when they visit her. That he should tell them the exact court room and they must be allowed at the magistrate's office. This commentator was present in this meeting.

At around 2 PM she was brought to the metropolitan court, Ahmedabad.

RB Sreekumar was brought in around the same time. It was a closed door hearing. No press was allowed. She was constantly surrounded by large teams of crime branch and Gujarat police.

Teesta was calm. At every juncture she reminded the police, the crime branch officials that the prosecution was a political case.

She asserted every time she was pushed or pulled or touched that she was not a criminal.

In the evening the magistrate asked her if she wanted another round of medical test. She said she did indeed want.

Everybody is worried about Teesta Setalvad, a foot soldier of Indian Constitution.


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Vol 55, No. 3, Jul 17 - 23, 2022