A Delhi court has granted the Delhi Police 10-day police custody of former Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Umar Khalid, who was arrested on Sunday under UAPA charges in a case related to the riots in northeast Delhi in February this year.
Earlier in the day, the police’s Special Cell summoned filmmakers Rahul Roy and Saba Dewan, asking them to join the investigation on Monday in connection with the riots. Roy and Dewan have been summoned as police claim to have found their links with some students’ outfit, and with a WhatsApp group called the ‘Delhi Protests Support Group (DPSG)’.
Producing Khalid before Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat through video conferencing, police told the court that they wanted to confront Khalid with documents running into 11-lakh pages. ASJ Rawat has reserved the order in the case.
Granting Khalid’s custody, ASJ Rawat observed, “Considering the nature of the case and role of the accused Umar Khalid that has surfaced so far regarding the conspiracy and involvement in anti-CAA/NPR/NRC protest, with the support of several radical groups/organisations, resulting in riots and the fact that custodial interrogation has been sought of the accused Umar Khalid for confronting with huge technical data as well as material that has come during investigation, I deem it fit that, for having an effective and proper investigation, to allow the present application for seeking police custody remand of the accused Umar Khalid for a period of 10 days.”
The court has directed the police to medically examine Khalid every 24 hours. He will be allowed to consult his lawyers for 30 minutes at the beginning of the police custody and, thereafter, daily during his remand while the police personnel remain outside within audible range.
The police have been told to ensure Khalid’s safety during the remand period.
Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad, who appeared on behalf of the Delhi Police, asked for 10 days of police custody and said, “There is some pointing out which has to be done. We need to confront him with the documents.”
Trideep Pais, who appeared on behalf of Khalid, said police have stated no specific reasons for the remand.
Pais told the court that Khalid was called for questioning for five hours on July 31, and around 12 hours on Sunday. “What is their case? This application does not even say they want to confront him; they want to make (up) stuff as they go along. Whether it is a speech which provokes or not — isn’t it incumbent to say when did he speak, where did he speak?”
Pais read out a transcript of Khalid’s speech and told the court that this was not hate speech as alleged by the police. “Let’s see how callous they are… His Amravati speech is about peace. The prosecution only has empty rhetoric. There is no material evidence to back their claims.”
Stating that even he was against the CAA-NRC, Pais told the court, “Between 22 to 26 February, he (Khalid) was not even in Delhi… Even I am against the CAA, that is not a crime. What is the crime Umar is said to have committed? It is public knowledge that people have been pressured to give statements in police custody, including against the accused. They say he protested. Everyone protested. They called him for 12 hours (of) questioning yesterday, they must have got something… This application is not worth even a one-day custody.”
Prasad, while addressing Pais’s claim that no specific reasons were given in the remand application, told the court, “Under the UAPA, sanctity of the investigation has to be maintained therefore a lot of disclosures are not given…”
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