New Delhi, July 9 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Thursday pulled up the police over its recent affidavit filed in connection with the plea filed by Pinjra Tod member Devangana Kalita seeking to restrain police from circulating selective information regarding her and other Delhi riots accused.
“This isn’t the kind of affidavit that was expected. It can’t be allowed to take this on record unless someone takes responsibility of what is being said in this,” said a single judge bench of Justice Vibhu Bakhru.
Kalita, who is currently in judicial custody in the Tihar Jail in a case relating to Delhi riots, had approached the high court seeking direction to the Delhi Police to not leak any allegations pertaining to the petitioner to the media pending investigation, and thereafter during trial.
The court observed that the affidavit filed by the police contained many allegations which were beyond the scope of the present petition.
“If the same affidavit remains, we would be testing the averments made in it,” Justice Bakhru said.
During the course of hearing, advocate Adit S. Pujari, representing the petitioner, raised questions on the sharing of the said affidavit with the media. He added that there was an interim order restraining the Delhi Police from doing so.
Meanwhile, Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi said that a fresh affidavit would be filed. The court has now posted the matter for further hearing on July 15.
The Delhi Police, in its affidavit filed by special counsel for riots cases, Amit Mahajan and Rajat Nair, held that it was Kalita herself has been guilty of frustrating a fair trial and to impede the ongoing investigation against her by starting a media campaign to gain sympathy and generate public opinion.
“It was the accused petitioner, who in the garb of free speech has been reverently trying to obfuscate and derail the investigation against her by misusing social media platforms and by peddling fake narratives and misinformation against the investigating agency and by maligning its investigation, as state sponsored malicious prosecution on such social media platforms,” the affidavit filed under the signature of Deputy Commissioner of Police, Crime (STARS & STF), read.
The police further submitted that Kalita, in active connivance with the other accused, “weaved a web of actions animated by unlawful object of creating terror and disaffection”
“The accused petitioner was not only disposed towards creating turmoil to severely undermine public order and imperil national security but also to erode and frustrate the civil compact which holds our polity together,” the police stated in the document.
On June 11, the High Court restrained the Delhi Police from circulating information. “The respondent is restrained from issuing any such statements or circulating information regarding allegations and evidence allegedly collected against the petitioner or other accused, to any person, including to the media or on social media platforms,” Justice Bakhru had said.
The order was passed while the court was hearing Kalita’s petition to prevent Delhi Police from leaking probe information.
“The petitioner alleges that the Crime Branch of Delhi Police has been selectively leaking certain information regarding the allegations made against the petitioner and the evidence allegedly collected against her,” she said in her plea.
Initially, Kalita was nabbed for Jafrabad violence case, northeast violence case and then for Daryaganj violence case. The Delhi Police filed a charge sheet against her and co-accused Natasha in Jafrabad violence case on June 2.
The police said that both women were actively involved in hatching the conspiracy to cause riots near Jafrabad Metro Station in Delhi.
“They were also part of a larger conspiracy and were found to be connected to the ‘India Against Hate’ group and Umar Khalid. The message, found in the phone of an accused, on Whatsapp chat, reveals the conspiracy and the extent of preparation for causing riots,” the statement by the police added.