Teesta files affidavit denying claims of embezzlement

By TCN News

Ahmedabad: Teestsa Setalvad has strongly denying the allegation of embezzling funds that was leveled against her by her former employee.

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On behalf of herself and her husband Javed Anand, Teesta Setalvad has filed an affidavit in the Sessions Court in Ahmedabad, pointing out the holes in the affidavit earlier filed by the crime branch of the Ahmedabad police.

Here below are some of the main points in the 41-page affidavit filed by her:

1. The full-of-falsehood affidavit of the crime branch is nothing short of intimidatory tactics with the ulterior motive of brow-beating the organizations with which she is associated with, and her and her husband personally, from pursuing the course of justice for the victims survivors of the 2002 carnage and punishment of the guilty, including those in high places. It may be noted, that directly as a result of our efforts, till date at least 117 accused have been convicted and given life imprisonment. This includes former BJP MLA and minister in Narendra Modi’s cabinet, Dr. Maya Kodnani.

2. The dubious intent of the crime branch among other things is evident from the fact that they have deliberately concealed the fact in their affidavit that while the Ahmedabad-based accomplice of the crime branch, Rais Khan, a disgruntled ex-employee of Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) till December 2007, was paid a total salary of Rs. 9,63,500, provided free housing and a vehicle, Teesta Setalvad (who functioned as chief executive) neither asked for, nor received a single rupee as salary from the organisation between April 2002 (when CJP was founded and December 2009 (nearly 8 years). Nor is there any mention of the fact that unlike Rais Khan, she neither asked for nor received any accommodation allowance.

3. With malicious intent, the crime branch has aggragated all the donations and grants received by CJP and Sabrang Trust and claimed that the entire amount was collected for the sole purpose of proposed Gulberg Memorial. The fact is that till date, while Sabrang Trust has in total received approximately Rs 4.5 lakh only earmarked by donors for the memorial, CJP did not receive a single rupee for the same.

4. It has been alleged that a total of around Rs. 2.62 crore was collected by Sabrang Trust between 10.4.2007 and 20.2.2014 for the museum. This is a blatant falsehood for two reasons. Firstly, a table contained in Teesta Setalvad’s affidavit where the purpose for which the foreign contributions were strictly to be used were clearly specified by the donors, it is evident that only around Rs. 4.5 lakh in all was earmarked by the donors for the Gulberg Memorial. This is easily established through the donors’ letters. Moreover, several of the donors have written to Sabrang Trust in the recent period, stating that in view of insufficient funds being received for the Gulberg memorial, Sabrang Trust is authorised to spend their donations on other activities. Secondly, it is also evident from the table that the total foreign contributions received by Sabrang Trust totaled around Rs. 1.33 crore and NOT Rs. 2.62 as falsely claimed by the crime branch. The highly exaggerated figure is the result of a simple accounting subterfuge: Of the total of Rs. 1.33 crore received over the relevant period, Rs. 1.21 crore were transferred from the trust’s savings a/c to term deposits in the same bank from time to time with a view to earning extra interest income for the trust. On maturity the same deposits along with interest totaling around Rs. 1.26 crore were credited back into the savings account. In its wisdom, or malafide intent, the crime branch has chosen to treat this Rs. 1.26 crore as fresh income!!

5. It has been alleged that Teesta Setalvad got over Rs. 21.6 lakh from Sabrang Trust between 1.10.2009 and 30.6.2013. Similarly, it has been alleged that Javed Anand received over Rs. 20 lakh from Sabrang Trust during the same period. Teesta Setalvad’s affidavit clearly points out that they were NOT paid this or even part of this amount in their capacity as trustees of Sabrang Trust. In fact, they were paid these amounts (averaging to Rs. 48,000 p.m. in case of Teesta Setalvad and around 47,700 p.m. in case of Javed Anand) for discharging their duties as Project Directors and Project Administrators as per the budget approved by the Trustees of Sabrang Trust and sanctioned by the donor organizations for specific projects having nothing to do with the Gulberg Memorial.

6. It has been alleged that Rs 67 lakh odd “have been transferred” to employees/ staff salaries etc. Teesta Setalvad’s affidavit asks which organisation with large scale activities such as those implemented by Sabrang Trust and CJP functions without paid staff.

7. It has been alleged that over a 6 year period (between 12.4.2007 and 4.6.2013) a total of only Rs. 2,49,000 was spent on legal aid from the non-FCRA account of CJP. This is purely a figment of the crime branch’s twisted imagination. A detailed year-by-year account provided by Teesta Setalvad shows that CJP spent a total of over Rs 2 crore (100 times the crime branch’s figure) on legal aid.

8. It is claimed that there were ‘Zero’ credits in the savings accounts in UBI of both Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand during the entire calendar years in 2001 and 2002. The monthly bank statements issued by the bank clearly show that a total of approximately Rs. 18.8 lakh was credited (deposited) in the said account of Teesta Setalvad during the relevant period. During the same period, a total of over Rs 9.2 lakh was credited to the said account of Javed Anand.

The statement issued by CJP also said that annual audited accounts of both Citizens for Justice and Peace and Sabrang Trust have been filed, on time each year, with the Income Tax office, Charity Commissioner’s Office and the FCRA authorities. “None of these authorities have till date found any irregularity in the audited accounts filed by us,” according to the statement by CJP trustees.