‘CBI searches at Setalvad’s places misuse of government’

New Delhi, July 15 (IANS) The Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust (Sahmat) on Wednesday expressed solidarity with social activist Teesta Setalvad and said the CBI raid on her house and office was a “shocking instance of misuse of government machinery”.

In a statement, the Sahmat said the “obvious” reason for this was that Setalvad has been at the forefront of the struggle to bring to justice those guilty of the “Gujarat genocide of 2002”.

“It cannot escape notice that persecution of Setalvad is accompanied by a deliberate weakening of the prosecution cases or overnight withdrawals of cases against those who have been accused of heinous crimes,” it said.

The timing of the raid was all the more “suspect as the Zakia Jafri case begins its final hearings on July 27, and the Naroda Patiya appeals are being heard in the Gujarat High Court starting today”.

Sahmat said it was time for all supporters of civil liberty and the rule of law to stand up for Setalvad and her colleagues, and “condemn without reservation the conduct of the Narendra Modi government”.

The CBI on Tuesday searched four premises of Setalvad and her publishing firm in Mumbai in connection with a case of alleged violation of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) norms and receiving foreign funds without government sanction.

It searched the premises belonging to Setalvad, her husband Javed Anand, Gulam Mohammed Peshimam and the offices of her firm Sabrang Communications and Publishing Pvt. Ltd. (SCPPL) in Mumbai.

On July 8, the CBI registered a case against them in New Delhi, invoking various sections of the Indian Penal Code and FCRA.

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