A Delhi court has dismissed the bail application of Jamia Millia Islamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha, arrested under the anti-terror law, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, in a case related to the Northeast Delhi riots.
Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat in his order held that statements or acts by co-conspirators would be held against Tanha. “The statements clearly point out the role of the accused Asif lqbal Tanha as also other co-accused persons and various actions taken by them in pursuance of the conspiracy. He was part of a conspiracy for doing chakka-jam leading to the riots. His name comes out in statements of the witnesses as one of the main coordinators in the entire conspiracy,” the court said in its order.
The 24-year old student was arrested on May 19 and has been in judicial custody since May 27.
The court said that details of statements by witnesses are not spelt out in detail as the case was at the stage of investigation. “Their merits or credibility can’t be gone into at the present stage. Considering the statement of such witnesses regarding the role of the accused Asif Iqbal Tanha and other accused persons, whose conduct is also highlighted by various statements, I have no hesitation to hold that there are reasonable ground for believing that accusation against the accused are prima facie true…,” the judge said in his order.
The court said that acts threatening the unity of India or for striking terror in the people and for raising funds for the purpose would attract sections 15 (terrorist acts) and 18 (recruiting for terrorist act) of the anti-terror law. “Thus, the provision of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, has been rightly invoked in the present case,” it said.
“… the statements and evidence will have to be read in entirety since it is a case of conspiracy. Moreover, the assertion that the accused himself physically and directly did not resort to violence as understood in common parlance would not be germane in the context of various acts committed by different individuals, including accused in the conspiracy of riots,” it said.
During the hearing, advocates Siddharth Aggarwal and Sowjhanya Shankaran, appearing for Tanha, said he has been falsely implicated in the case.
He argued that invocation of UAPA against Tanha was bad in law as there was no unlawful association or terrorist organisation with which he was associated.
Tanha was not a member of Jamia Coordination Committee (JCC) WhatsApp group till February 24, and therefore, the messages on February 23 regarding the alleged planning of riots were not relevant to him, Aggarwal argued.
Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad, appearing for the state, opposed the bail plea, saying Tanha was one of the conspirators and was involved with other accused persons in the conspiracy, and there was sufficient material for establishing a prima facie case against him.
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