Former JNU student Umar Khalid and his lawyers Monday moved an application in court on the “vicious media campaign” against him for his alleged role in the Delhi riots. Appearing before the court of Metropolitan Magistrate Dinesh Kumar through video conferencing from Tihar jail, Khalid asked how chargesheets were repeatedly leaked to the media before the accused got access to them, and alleged the “media trial” was affecting his right to a “free and fair trial”.
News18 had recently run a report on the basis of a supplementary chargesheet on the Khajuri Khas violence case, stating Khalid had “admitted” he “conspired to fuel riots”. While police had submitted the chargesheet on December 26, Khalid and his counsel had not received it till Monday.
Khalid said, “I’m noting with absolute dismay this pattern which has emerged of the conduct of Delhi Police, which is prejudicial to a fair trial. Till date, I have not received the chargesheet but in the last few days, the media has been given access to it.”
“Things are put out in the public domain without giving us a chance to rebut… I got to know from the media that my confessional statement is part of the chargesheet. If this is true, I want to point out that on October 4, when I was remanded to judicial custody in this case, I had given it in writing that I have not given any confessional statement; I have not signed on absolutely any paper,” he said.
“This is an absolutely fabricated case,” he said.
Khalid requested the MM to ask the investigating officer or prosecution lawyer how it was being leaked “again and again”.
“I’m being condemned without a trial…. This only shows one thing, the prosecution is absolutely not confident about any evidence… they want to condemn me in the public domain through these leaks,” Khalid said.
He was represented by his counsel Trideep Pais, Rakshanda Deka and Sanya Kumar. Pais too spoke out against the “brazen” media trial, stating they reported confessional statements like “gospel truth”. “Unless the IO gave it to them (media), it wouldn’t go out. The leak has to be theirs,” he claimed.
The MM said he could not pass an order on the matter Monday, and listed the matter for Tuesday, when the supplementary chargesheet and main chargesheet will be put up before court. After Pais raised objections to the News18 report, the MM said he would hear the matter on Tuesday at length, but added, “Sometimes they (media) write that such thing has been done by so and so. ‘Alleged’ word has been missing in the reports in many cases.”
The Network 18 group editor did not respond to request seeking a comment.
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