Updated: April 17, 2021 4:05:08 pm
A Delhi court has granted bail to Punjabi actor Deep Sidhu who was arrested in connection with the violence at Red Fort on Republic Day during farmers’ protest over farm laws, observing that the prosecution seeks to make an example of him.
Special Judge Neelofer Abida Perveen, while granting bail to Sidhu, observed that “the prosecution seeks to make an example out of the case of the accused-applicant, he being a popular public figure, such an endeavour, however, hazards a failure of justice as a result of compromised objectivity”.
Sidhu’s bail is subject to furnishing personal bond with two sureties on the sum of Rs 30,000.
The court said that the prosecution alleges involvement of thousands of offenders and it would “violate and infringe the fundamental right to life and liberty as guaranteed to the accused-applicant” if he is denied bail in the present “on such nature of accusations and material only on the ground that the investigating agency is yet to establish the identity of several members of the unlawful assembly”.
The court further noted that none of the acts of violence reported in this case has been attributed to the accused.
The court said that the police have seized the clothes and a vehicle used by Sidhu to reach the incident spot. It said that “further incarceration for the sole purpose of voice sampling is not justifiable.”
“The facts of the matter, the specific allegations cannot be lost sight of and the nature of incriminating material cannot be disregarded at any cost. It would lie within the prosecution to establish the accusations by collecting material and leading credible evidence in the course of trial, and for the Trial Court to assess and appreciate the evidence and determine the culpability of the accused-applicant at the appropriate stages of the proceedings,” the court said.
The court said that the prosecution case rests largely on the contents of video recordings on social media and that there was only a “remote possibility” that Sidhu would tamper with the content.
The police had told the court Monday that Sidhu’s intention was to “create violence and disregard our national flag”.
They had also submitted that Sidhu was “the main rioter and instigator” and was seen in a video with “swords, sticks and flags” during the violence on January 26. It has been alleged that Sidhu “provoked the people and gave speeches with a loud hailer thus inciting violence.”
Meanwhile, Sindhu, through his lawyers, told the court that he made a mistake by hosting a Facebook Live at Red Fort and has been branded a traitor.
He has been arrested for several offences under the Indian Penal Code including rioting (147 and 148), unlawful assembly (149), attempt to murder (120-B), criminal conspiracy (120-B), assaulting or obstructing public servant (152), dacoity (395), culpable homicide (308) and disobedience to order promulgated by public servant (188).
He has also been arrested under sections of the Arms Act, Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act and the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act.
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