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Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Northeast Delhi violence: High Court grants bail to accused in UAPA case

The accused Faizan Khan, a SIM card provider, is the first accused to be granted bail on merits in the case after the police added provisions of UAPA to the FIR being investigated by Delhi Police's Special Cell.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | October 23, 2020 4:30:48 pm
delhi riots, northeast delhi riots, delhi police, stone pelting, delhi govt, indian expressThe riots in Northeast Delhi left 53 dead. (Express photo: Praveen Khanna)

The Delhi High Court Friday granted bail to an accused in the main conspiracy case registered by Delhi Police in connection with the Northeast Delhi violence. The accused Faizan Khan, a SIM card provider, is the first accused to be granted bail on merits in the case after the police added provisions of UAPA to the FIR being investigated by Delhi Police’s Special Cell.

“The onerous conditions/embargo under section 43D (5) of the UAPA, 1967 will not be applicable in the present case qua the petitioner herein as per the material on record and the investigating agency owns status report, which does not disclose the commission of the offences under the UAPA, 1967, except bald statements of the witnesses,” Justice Suresh Kumar Kait said in the order.

The court said Khan was not part of any such WhatsApp groups which were made to allegedly coordinate or organize protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019. “Moreover, there is no allegation against the petitioner that he engaged in any form of terror funding or such other ancillary activity,” the court said in the order. It also said the investigating agency has not alleged that he was privy or party to organizing protests against the CAA.

Khan is accused of providing and activating a SIM Card, which was used by the Jamia Coordination Committee, a group of students and activists which protested against the new citizenship law. As per the police, the SIM card was activated on the demand of Jamia Millia Islamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha, who is also an accused in the case.

However, the court in the bail order said, “There is no proximate nexus between the aforesaid alleged incidents nor is it alleged that the said SIM card was provided, on the pretext or with the intention/objective, to be utilized for organizing protests, etc”. For invoking UAPA provisions against the accused, the court said the investigating agency has to show that he had “actual knowledge” that the said SIM card would be used for organizing the protests.

“It was imperative for the investigation agency to demonstrate that the petitioner had “active knowledge” about the utilization of the said SIM card. It is not alleged that the petitioner was party to any such conspiracy to organize protests,” the court said in the order.

The court also said that there is no proof on record such as CCTV footage, video or chats of accused with any of the group except the allegation that “he provided SIM on fake ID in December 2019” and took “a small amount of Rs.200”.

“It is not the case of the prosecution that he provided many SIMs and continued to do the same. It is also not the case of the prosecution that he was part of any chat-group or part of any group who conspired to commit offence as alleged in the present case,” the order reads.

Student activist Safoora Zargar was earlier granted bail in the same case too but on humanitarian grounds. Three other accused have also been granted bail in the case but that was before the police invoked anti-terror law against the accused.

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