New Delhi: A Delhi Court on Thursday denied bail to student activist Umar Khalid in connection with a case alleging larger conspiracy into the Delhi riots of 2020, involving charges under the Indian Penal Code and UAPA.
Khalid’s bail order had been deferred thrice, most recently from March 21 to today, March 23. Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat, who was scheduled to pronounce the order on Monday, posted the matter for Wednesday instead, saying the court was not ready.
During the arguments, the accused told the court that the prosecution lacked the evidence to prove its case against him.
Umar Khalid faces charges under the anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for being one of the “masterminds” of the February 2020 riots, which had left 53 people dead and over 700 injured. 18 people have been named accused in the Delhi riots larger conspiracy case, but only 6 have received bail so far.
Senior Advocate Trideep Pais, appearing for Umar Khalid, had argued that the entire charge sheet filed by Delhi Police in the case is a fabrication and that the case against him is based on the video clips run by two TV channels showing a truncated version of his speech.
The student leader faces IPC sections pertaining to inciting riots, promoting religious enmity, giving provocative speeches for allegedly “pre-planning” the communal riot incidents of February 2020.
Pais had alleged that News18 omitted a crucial statement made by Khalid regarding the need for unity and harmony from the video telecasted by it.
Pais had also argued that the entire charge sheet reads like a script of Amazon Prime show ‘Family Man’, having no evidence to support the allegations, adding that the charge sheet makes rhetorical allegations against Khalid, terming him the “veteran of sedition” without any factual basis. The hyperbolic allegations in the charge sheet “reads like a 9 PM new script of one of those shouting news channels” and are reflective of the “fertile imagination” of the investigating officer, the lawyer had argued.
Pais had also argued that while the protests against Citizenship Amendment Act were secular, it is the charge sheet filed by the Delhi Police which is communal.
Further, reading out the allegation that the creation of Jamia coordination committee was the brainchild of Umar Khalid and Nadeem Khan, Pais had called it a fertile imagination of the IO.
He had also submitted that while the prosecution pushed on claiming that chakka jam was equal to terror act, Chakka Jam is not an offence and that it has been used by students and others while participating in various agitations.
He added that the statements of ‘cooked up witnesses’ showed a pattern of ‘false implication’ in the charge sheet as well as FIR 59/2020. He argued that one of the witness’ statements which was recorded three days prior to Umar Khalid’s arrest was done in order to “suit the arrest”.
It was argued that the statements recorded by the investigating agency in the matter were nothing but a fabrication, a tenuous material which will not stand the test of law.
According to Pais, the said statements of witnesses were grossly inconsistent with each other and there was no physical evidence to support the same.
“I recently watched a movie called “The Trial of Chicago 7″ where witnesses of the State had already planned to be the witnesses of the State,” Pais had argued.
He added, “Even a 12-year-old would know this is a fabrication. They (prosecution) should be ashamed. Not even a shred of physical evidence. One doesn’t need a cross-examination to tell you that this one is a liar.”