‘Accused hardened criminals’, Delhi Police tell court in LS security breach case

Court appointed legal aid counsel for the accused individuals after they stated that they did not have their own lawyers.

New Delhi: A Delhi court on Thursday extended till January 5 the police custody of four accused persons arrested in connection with the Parliament security breach case.

The accused individuals — Sagar Sharma, Manoranjan D, Neelam Azad and Amol Shinde — were presented before Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Hardeep Kaur of Patiala House Courts.

The court extended their custody on an application moved by the police. The four accused were presented before court on expiry of their previously granted seven-day police custody after they were arrested on December 13. The Delhi Police told the court that the accused in the case were “hardened criminals”, consistently altering their statements.

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Advocate Umakant Kataria, representing the accused, told reporters that the police had recovered four charred mobile phones and other incriminating material.

Seeking an extension of the accused’s remand, the police wished to scrutinise the social media accounts of all the accused, requiring an additional 15 days for the task.

It was disclosed that the police had subjected the accused to psychological analytical analysis, and this process would continue over the next 15 days.

After the court sent the alleged mastermind, Lalit Jha, to seven-day police custody on December 15, the sixth accused, Mahesh Kumawat, also sent to police custody the next day. The police plan to confront the four individuals with Jha and Kumawat.

Given the severely damaged state of the accused’s mobile phones, the police will get their SIM cards reissued to trace their contacts.

During their ongoing custody, the accused will remain at the current location, as the police have already taken them to seven different places.

Manoranjan, one of the accused, initially requested to speak to his parents, a request that the court granted. However, within few minutes later, he abruptly changed his mind and refrained from contacting them.

Delhi Police have registered an FIR under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) against the accused and are investigating the security lapse issue, too.

The prosecution had labelled the arrested individuals as terrorists, asserting that they orchestrated a well-planned attack on Parliament with the intention of inciting fear.

The police had informed the court that they have included Sections 16 (terrorism) and 18 (conspiracy for terrorism) of the UAPA in the charges against the accused.

The police had said that individuals exceeded their rights by jumping from the gallery into the seating area of the MPs. Furthermore, the police claimed that the accused concealed a canister in their shoes and stressed on the need for their custody to determine their actual motive and identify any other individuals involved.

“Special shoes made in Lucknow, which needs to be probed. They need to be taken to Mumbai, Mysore, Lucknow for the probe,” the police told the court.

The court appointed legal aid counsel for the accused individuals after they stated that they did not have their own lawyers.

In response, the defence counsel opposed the police’s application, suggesting that a few days would be sufficient for the investigation.

Police further submitted that the accused carried pamphlets that showed and declared Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a missing person with a caption that the person who finds him will be paid money from the Swiss Bank.

“The accused persons portrayed the PM like a proclaimed offender,” police said.

The case revolves around a major security breach on the 22nd anniversary of the 2001 Parliament terror attack, where individuals jumped into the Lok Sabha hall, released yellow gas, and shouted slogans before being subdued by MPs.

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