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New Delhi: The Supreme Court deferred to Thursday the hearing on the bail plea of activist Teesta Setalvad, arrested for allegedly fabricating evidence to frame “innocent people” in the 2002 Gujarat riots cases.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and justices S Ravindra Bhat and Sudhanshu Dhulia, which was to take up the plea for hearing at 3.45 pm, adjourned the matter to September 1 due to paucity of time.

“Because of the paucity of time, the matter could not be taken up. List this matter at 3 pm on Thursday,” the bench said in its order.

In response to the bail plea, the Gujarat government has said that the activist had “enacted” the conspiracy along with other accused at the behest of a senior political leader.

The state government, in an affidavit, claimed that Setalvad had held meetings with the said political leader and received “large amounts of money”.

The affidavit, filed by the chief of the special investigation team (SIT) constituted to probe the case lodged in June this year, said the FIR was not solely based upon the June 24, 2022 judgement of the top court.

Prior to this, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Gujarat, had told the bench that a response to Setalvad’s petition was ready and would be filed after some corrections.

On August 22, the apex court sought a response from the Gujarat government on the bail plea of Setalvad, who was arrested in June in the case.

The Gujarat High Court, on August 3, issued a notice to the state government on the bail plea of Setalvad and fixed the matter for hearing on September 19.

The top court had on June 24 dismissed a plea filed by Zakia Jafri, the wife of former Congress MP Ehsaan Jafri who was killed in Ahmedabad during the riots, triggered by the torching of a coach of Sabarmati Express by a mob near Godhra station on February 27, 2002.

Fifty-nine passengers were charred to death in the incident.

A sessions court at Ahmedabad, on July 30, rejected the bail applications of Setalvad and former Director General of Police R B Sreekumar in the case, saying that if they were released, it will send a message to wrongdoers that a person can level allegations with impunity and get away with it.

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