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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Delhi riots: Failed to establish who leaked investigation details to media, police tells HC

Jamia Millia Islamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha last year had approached the court against leaking of his alleged “confession statement” by police to the media.

Written by Sofi Ahsan | New Delhi |
Updated: August 6, 2021 7:16:35 am
The Delhi Police also submitted that the media personnel have refused to share any information regarding their source with the investigating agency. (Express archives)

The Delhi Police on Thursday told the Delhi High Court that it has failed to find out the officers or the office from where “details of investigation” of the case, registered to probe the alleged “larger conspiracy” behind Northeast Delhi riots, were “shared with the media”. It also submitted that the media personnel have refused to share any information regarding their source with the investigating agency.

The reply was submitted in response to a court order directing the Commissioner of Police to file a reply after ascertaining who was responsible for leaking contents of the chargesheet to media. Jamia Millia Islamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha last year had approached the court against leaking of his alleged “confession statement” by police to the media. On March 5 this year, the court in the case was also told that the supplementary chargesheet filed before trial court on February 25 was also leaked to media even before its cognisance was taken by the court.

Submitting a detailed enquiry was conducted in pursuance of the directions passed by High Court, the police in a reply filed on Thursday said, “the enquiry officer, during the enquiry could not establish the officers/office from where the details of investigation were shared with the media”.

The police further submitted that various media personnel were examined but they “refused to share the details of their source from where they had accessed the investigation related documents”. It also said that directions are being issued that case files must be handled with “utmost alacrity” and that the chargesheets be also filed “strictly following the due process of law”.

“It must also be ensured that such issues as raised in the present matter are not repeated in future,” added the police in its reply.

Since the police along with the reply also filed in sealed cover the enquiry report, Justice Mukta Gupta said she will have to go through it and listed the case for next hearing on August 11.

On March 1, the court had called Delhi Police’s vigilance inquiry report on leakage of the “confession statement” — half-baked and “a useless piece of paper”. On March 05, while taking note of the leakage of the supplementary chargesheet, the court had directed the Commissioner of Police to file a reply regarding the allegations of leaking of the contents by police. Zee News is one of the main media organisations facing allegations in the case.

Tanha in his petition filed last year has argued that the timing of the “leak” of the purported statement, which is inadmissible in law, to the media and “publication of this false information purportedly from the police files, at a time when bail application of the petitioner is pending consideration before the trial court, creates a reasonable apprehension that the process of justice is being attempted to be subverted”. His bail was then pending before the trial court. Tanha was released on bail by the High Court in June.

The police on Thursday said “no prejudice has been caused” to him in his exercise of the right to free and fair trial. “However, inconvenience, if any, caused to the Hon’ble Court is deeply regretted,” it added.

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