Pinjra Tod activist Devangana Kalita, facing trial in a UAPA case connected to the Northeast Delhi riots, has cited Parliamentary Assembly debates on the anti-terror law while arguing for bail, stressing it was important to understand these to get clarity on the Act.
The arguments were addressed by Kalita’s lawyer Adit Pujari before Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat. However, his arguments could not be completed and will be heard Friday.
Pujari began by stating that “the prosecution is entitled to ask at the end of the trial for multiple sentences, including death”, however, clarity was lacking at what stage of the trial Kalita was eligible for bail. “To get that clarity, we went through some Parliamentary Assembly debates… it is our endeavour to argue this bail differently because it is in line with what UAPA says… Intent behind the Parliamentary Assembly debates is quite clear. In UAPA, it is says this court shall not grant bail if the perusal of the case diary or report… is of the opinion that there are reasonable grounds to believe the accusation against such person is not a conspiratorial allegation per se but allegation of conspiracy backed by facts on such persons is prima facie true,” Pujari told the court.
He also told the court that there were discrepancies in the chargesheets filed against Kalita: “In this chargesheet, police is quite clear in saying that our plan was to do a chakka jam and we completely blocked Jafrabad road under the Metro. The interesting point is that the chargesheet which relates to blocking of Jafrabad Metro has nothing to do with blocking of entire road…”
Pujari told the court that he will “actually admit to a pre-planned conspiracy to protest against CAA and to hold dharnas. Because there still has to be a causal nexus between the dharna and the violence. Have I given any incendiary speeches?”
He went on to argue that police failed to establish a credible link between Professor Apoorvanand and Kalita: “This big brouhaha created on the aspect that the Pinjra Tod girls are agents of Mr Apoorvanand. I would request with folded hands to the SPP to indicate one call between Apoorvanand and Devangana…”
Pujari further told the court, “This is a chargesheet where sentences are written as if they are pleadings. They are saying Umar Khalid, the veteran of sedition… It cannot be that when my bail application is considered on such pleadings and flowery words, to deny me the opportunity of bail.”
Police had earlier questioned Apoorvanand, a DU professor, after the Special Cell (New Delhi Range) claimed to have found links with Pinjra Tod. He has also been named in a supplementary chargesheet filed in connection with the riot probe.
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