Friday, July 24, 2015

Relief, rehabilitation not main activities of trusts Teesta Setalvad heads: Statement contests Gujarat police affidavit

By Our Representative
Even as top human rights activist Teesta Setalvad got much-needed relief from the Bombay High Court, which stayed her arrest till August 10, a statement by the two trusts she heads have said that only in certain “emergency situations” they engaged in “relief and rehabilitation” activities. But that never was, or claimed by us to be, their “main purpose.”
The Gujarat police’s affidavit before the Supreme Court had said Setalvad and her husband “misused” foreign funds meant for relief and rehabilitation given to the trusts she heads. Contesting, the statement said, “The aims and objectives of both the Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) and Sabrang Trust are wide enough to allow for a wide range of activities.”
The statement has been signed by CJP trustees Anil Dharker, Nandan Maluste, Alyque Padamsee, I.M. Kadri, Cyrus Guzder, Anil Dharker, Ghulam Pesh Imam, Cedric Prakash, Shakuntala Kulkarni, Javed Anand, Teesta Setalvad (Secretary); and Sabrang Trust trustees Ravi Kulkarni, Nakul Mehta, Amili Setalvad, Javed Anand, and Teesta Setalvad.
“Since its inception in 2002, CJP’s core concern has been to provide legal aid to the victims of mass crimes”, the statement said, adding, as for Sabrang Trust, its “main focus has been, one, Khoj education programme run in schools for a plural India, and, two, conflict resolution and peace building.”
Giving details of the funds raised by the two trusts, the statement said, funds were sought to be collected for building a Gulberg Society memorial because the survivors of the carnage of the society “were unable to sell their individual properties at a fair price.”
“It was collectively decided to raise funds to build a memorial. Since Sabrang Trust only managed to raise Rs 4.6 lakh, we had to inform the society members that the project was not feasible. No contract was signed, no property or deed ever changed hands, nor monies changed hands. Rs 4.6 lakh donated by individuals is still unutilised”, it said.
The statement further said, “CJP raised money for providing legal aid to victims. Witness protection and probity during trial despite hostile regimes have ensured the convictions of 120 persons. It is these gains that the regime in power in Delhi wants to snatch away.”
“In each of these cases, CJP argued against the death penalty as our commitment to lasting human rights jurisprudence. An amendment in the CRPC in 2009 was a recognition of these efforts (Section 24(8)(2)) whereby victims have for the first time been given statutory rights of legal presence during trial”, it added.
“It was and is CJP’s perseverance that has rendered meaning to the Supreme Court’s monitoring of key trials. Each time there was a breach, it was our legal team that brought serious lapses to the notice of the Supreme Court”, Setalvad noted.
Coming to salaries to her or Anand, the statement said, all funds were “strictly in accordance with the budgets proposed to and accepted” by Ford Foundation, and other foreign funding agencies.
“Over a period of 10 years (2004-14), the monthly payments from all projects put together was Rs 39,000 per month for Teesta and Rs 23,500 per month for Javed”, it added.
Strongly refuting siphoning of funds Sabrang Communications, as claimed by Gujarat police, she said, “On requests from Sabrang Trust and CJP, Sabrang Communications (a private limited company founded in 1993) agreed to share its office space, office equipment and staff on an expenses sharing basis. No rent was ever paid to Sabrang Communications.”
As for the allegation Setalvad and Anand cannot buy what they want from the remunerations they received by them – including film CDs and taking dinner in restaurants – the statement dubbed the allegation “too ridiculous to merit comment.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Check the FCRA accounts of Gujarat CM family managed Manav Sadhna Trust by searching records of Gujarat on

http://fcraonline.nic.in/fc3_amount.aspx

Under 3A, they have not given any use of funds to FCRA for any year.