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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Toolkit case: Delhi court grants protection from arrest to activist Shantanu Muluk till March 9

Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana has directed the police to not take any coercive action against Muluk till the next date of hearing on March 9.

Written by Anand Mohan J | New Delhi |
Updated: February 26, 2021 2:13:16 am
Shantanu Muluk. (Reuters)

The Delhi Police on Thursday told a court that activist Shantanu Muluk, under investigation in connection with a toolkit on the farmers’ protest that was tweeted by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, gave contradictory and inconsistent replies, even as his lawyers said that Muluk only helped out at a library, distributed books and designed eco-friendly waste disposal.

Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana has directed the police to not take any coercive action against Muluk till the next date of hearing on March 9. The judge had on Tuesday granted bail to co-accused Disha Ravi observing that the police investigation was based on “scanty and sketchy evidence”.

The police were due to oppose Muluk’s bail on Thursday but told the court that they needed seven more days to file a detailed reply to his anticipatory bail application.

Muluk’s anticipatory bail application, filed by lawyers Sarim Naved and Akram Khan, stated that he was interrogated for 12 hours on February 22, and on the following day answered a 115-page long questionnaire, many verbal questions and was later confronted with co-accused Ravi.

On police allegations that Muluk attended a Zoom call with 60-70 other people where Poetic Justice Foundation founders MO Dhaliwal and Anita Lal, alleged to be Khalistani sympathisers, were also present, his lawyers said he did not know anyone apart from Extinction Rebellion colleague Nikita Jacob.

“The said Zoom call was merely an introductory call organised by Ask India Why and nothing objectionable whatsoever was said, mentioned or discussed during the call. He does not know anything about Poetic Justice Foundation as has been alleged. He does not know anything about one Mo Dhaliwal, who is apparently a proponent of Khalistan, who was allegedly on the Zoom call. Some people spoke there but nobody said anything that was divisive… so the applicant has no reason to suspect anyone or anything,” the anticipatory bail application read.

On the toolkit, the court was told that the document was accessed and edited by other people who had ‘edit’ access. “He merely created a document containing information about the protest and it was then edited by others without the knowledge or involvement of the applicant.”

Shantanu’s lawyers told the court that he was “not a political person and had no political or religious goals apart from exhibiting sympathy for the farmers”.

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