Crime branch officials produce social activist Teesta Setalvad at Metropolitan Magistrate Court, in Ahmedabad, June 26, 2022. Photo: PTI

New Delhi: Following her arrest from her home by the Gujarat Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) on June 25 this year, activist Teesta Setalvad had filed a complaint at the Santacruz police station in Mumbai alleging violence on the part of the arresting officers.

Setalvad was arrested a day after the Supreme Court dismissed the plea of Zakia Jafri, widow of Congress MP Ehsan Jafri who had been killed during the 2002 Gujarat riots, challenging the “clean chit” given to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, erstwhile chief minister of Gujarat, for his role in the communal riots that year.

Setalvad filed her complaint with the Santacruz police at around 5:20 pm on July 25, after being picked up from her home and before being taken to Ahmedabad. The complaint, addressed to senior police investigator (PI) Balasaheb Tambe, details events which the activist found curious even in the lead up to her arrest.

She notes in her complaint – a copy of which she has now shared with reporters – that around 1 pm on July 25, she received a call on her office phone from the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Noida. The phone call was answered by her colleague, she writes, who told her that the voice on the other end enquired into “how many people were involved” in Setalvad’s security and who they were.

When Setalvad’s colleague suggested to the CISF personnel that they contact Setalvad directly, the voice said that they would “ask (their) sir”.

The complaint goes on to say that half-an-hour after the suspicious call, two CISF personal security officers (PSO) came to Setalvad’s gate from the bungalow belonging to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Narayan Rane, which is on the same road as Setalvad’s residence in Mumbai’s Juhu.

The complaint notes that the two PSOs began to aggressively ask the same questions about the number of people in Setalvad’s security detail.

Within minutes of their visit, Setalvad writes, the team of 8-10 Gujarat ATS personnel arrived at the spot and barged into Setalvad’s compound, “including (her) sister’s home,” she wrote.

“No warrant or FIR till my lawyer came,” Setalvad wrote in her complaint.

Setalvad mentioned PI J.M. Patel, ATS Ahmedabad, by name in her complaint, as well as “one lady officer in a yellow t-shirt and jeans”, alleging that they assaulted her when she asked to speak with her lawyer before proceeding with them. She also wrote that she received a big bruise on her arm from the assault, which she showed her own lawyer at the time.

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