The Ministry of Home Affairs and Delhi government have granted sanction to prosecute Umar Khalid and Sharjeel Imam under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in connection with their alleged involvement in the February communal riots in Northeast Delhi, Delhi Police said Friday.
A spokesperson of the Delhi government termed the development “purely procedural”.
“The Law department has given its legal opinion after due diligence to the Home department of Delhi government. The elected government has no role to play in this. Delhi government has not stopped prosecution in any case in the last five years, including those pertaining to AAP MLAs and party leaders,” the AAP government said.
Khalid, a former JNU student, and Imam were arrested by the police in cases under sections of UAPA on September 14 and August 25 respectively.
“We have received prosecution sanctions in several Delhi riots cases. Earlier, we received them against the 15 accused who were named in the Crime Branch chargesheet. Two weeks ago, the Delhi government and MHA sent sanctions against other accused, including Khalid and Imam,” said a senior police officer.
The chargesheet was filed against 15 persons under UAPA in a case of alleged conspiracy related to the riots. The chargesheet included names of suspended AAP councillor Tahir Hussain, Pinjra Tod’s Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal, former DU student Gulfisha, and Jamia students Meeran Haider, Asif Tanha and Safoora Zargar. Police have also charged them under IPC sections 153A and 124A. The state government needs to grant sanctions to the police to prosecute any accused under Section 196 of the CrPC (offences against the State and for criminal conspiracy to commit such offence).
A police officer said names of Khalid and Imam can be added in the supplementary chargesheet.
An MHA official also confirmed prosecution sanction against Khalid and other riots accused under UAPA section 13. “A month ago, we applied for the sanctions against Faizan Khan, Khalid and Imam, all booked under UAPA. The MHA and Delhi Govt approved these two weeks ago,” a senior police officer said.
Khan, accused of providing a SIM card on a fake ID to Asif Tanha and activating it, was granted bail by the court on October 24.
Explaining the sanctions, a police officer said, “The accused were booked under sections 13, 16, 17 and 18 of UAPA. To prosecute someone under section 13, the court demands sanctions from the Centre. In the case of other sections, the state government is the competent authority.”
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