Updated: February 24, 2016 9:04:30 pm
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday adjourned the bail plea hearing of JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar, arrested on sedition charges, to February 29 after the Delhi Police said they will seek further police remand to interrogate him. The police also submitted a status report opposing Kumar’s bail plea, saying he had “helped organise” the event where alleged anti-national slogans were raised.
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Delhi Police, informed the bench of Justice Pratibha Rani that the police would move an application seeking Kumar’s police remand for the third time so they can bring him face-to-face with JNU students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, who surrendered on Tuesday night.
Allowing the police to move a remand application before the appropriate trial court, the judge observed that she did not want “even one scratch” on “any of them” and that she would be “monitoring” the situation.
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All three students face charges of sedition for raising alleged anti-national slogans on the campus.
Kumar is currently in judicial custody till March 2. Under the Code of Criminal Procedure, the police can seek custody for up to 14 days after arrest. For two weeks, judicial custody and police custody can be exchanged. He was previously placed in police custody for three days and then another two days after his arrest on February 12.
According to police, Kumar’s custody is required to confront him with Khalid and and Bhattacharya and “unearth any larger conspiracy”.
The court deferred the hearing till February 29 after Kumar’s advocates Kapil Sibal and Rebecca John asked to
postpone the hearing as they would oppose the police remand application.
“As a law abiding citizen of the country, I will not obstruct the due process of law,” said John, after the ASG said the police had a statutory right to seek custody during the prescribed time, which would expire on February 27.
“Since two JNU students surrendered last night, we need to confront them with Kanhaiya,” Mehta said.
The judge, in her order issued in the evening, directed the police to inform Kanhaiya lawyers regarding the time and place of filing the custody application.
The bench also directed the Delhi High Court Registrar General to depute a Metropolitan Magistrate to conduct the remand proceedings in a “safe place” for all three students. The court also directed that the time and place of the remand proceedings be kept “confidential” to “avoid any unpleasant incident as well to ensure the safety of the petitioner”.
In the status report opposing Kumar’s bail plea, the police alleged that the “presence and active role of Kanhaiya” had been “established” by the investigation conducted so far. The police also claimed that the “unlawful assembly” of students had raised “anti-national and anti-constitutional” slogans.
Police claimed that Kumar “not only participated” but also “helped organise” the event where alleged anti-national slogans were raised. Giving examples of the slogans raised during the February 12 incident, the report also states that it was “an open secret that the aforesaid conduct of holding an event on February 9 has not only ramification within India, it has an international impact as well”.
Reacting to the status report, John said it was “completely contrary to every available piece of evidence”. “We will be filing a detailed reply to this status report. It is completely illogical and inconsistent with the evidence on record,” said John.
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