"They cannot be armoured with full fledged anticipatory bail when applicant did not cooperate with the investigation," Justice J B Pardiwala said, turning down the bail applications of Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand, paving the way for their possible arrest.

The court rejected Setalvad's lawyer's prayer for a stay on its order to allow them time to move the Supreme Court.

Maintaining that their custodial interrogation was "in public interest" and "in the interest of justice", the court said Setalwad had filed the pre-arrest bail plea just to avoid custodial interrogation.

"The applicant has never cooperated with the probe and whenever she was called for questioning she insisted that cops ask her everything in writing and also maintained that she had said everything in her affidavits before the sessions court," the court said.

The court also said that affidavits by witnesses had brought out several "shocking facts" about the applicant having used the funds collected in the name of riot victims and meant for the poor and needy people for personal and materialistic purposes.

As Additional Advocate General P K Jani submitted that the state government had no objection to anticipatory bail being given to three other accused--Tanvir Jafri, son of slain Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, Chairman of Gulbarg society Firoz Gulzar and secretary Salim Sandhi--their pleas were allowed.

The court directed them to appear before the city crime branch on February 19.

The crime branch had in January last year registered an FIR against Setalvad and others on complaints by some former residents of the Gulbarg society and riot victims accusing them of embezzling Rs 1.51 crore collected by them in donations for turning the housing society, ravaged during the riots, into a museum. The idea was later dropped.
The matter came to light after 12 residents of the society demanded Rs 1.51 crore from Setalvad, who was assisting riot victims in several cases, as the money had been raised in their name.

Prosecutor Mahesh Jethmalani laid before the court the statements of Setalvad's former accountant Rais Khan, who also accused her and others of misusing the funds meant for the victims.
Setalvad and other accused have claimed the case was filed against them with "ulterior political motive" and asserted they had not misused the funds.

They moved the High Court for anticipatory bail after the city sessions court rejected their plea on March 25.

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