New Delhi: The Special Cell of the Delhi Police on Thursday raided the office of Mehmood Pracha, an advocate who is representing many accused in the Delhi riots conspiracy cases.
The Delhi Police has reportedly said that the raid was based on a warrant from a local court to search for “incriminating documents” and “metadata of outbox” of the official email address of Pracha’s law firm.
In a video of the raid posted in twitter by journalist Aditya Menon, Pracha is seen objecting to the seizure of his laptop by the police, citing client-attorney privilege.
Pracha is seen saying that the police may examine the laptop but cannot seize it as it will amount to breach of attorney-client privilege. He is also seen telling the police that seizure will be in violation of the court order. The police officer in the video is seen replying that he wants to take the ‘hard drive’
As per reports, the raid, which started around 12.30 PM, is still on. In another video posted by journalist Fatima Khan in twitter, Pracha is seen saying that the investigating officer is not allowing him to meet anyone.
The Quint reported the contents of the warrant order, issued on December 22, as :
“Whereas information has been laid before me of the commission of offences punishable under section 182, 193, 420, 468, 471, 472, 473, 120B and it has been made to appear to me that incriminating data comprising false complaint and meta data of outbox of email account which was used to send incriminating documents are essential to the investigation of FIR 212/20 of Police Station Special Cell, New Delhi.
This is to authorize and require investigating officer of this case to search for the said incrementing documents and meta data of out of box of email ID, wherever they may be found whether in computer or in the office/premises of Sh Mehmood Pracha.”
Pracha was the lawyer of Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad in the cases related to CAA protests. After hearing his arguments, a Delhi Court had granted Azad bail in cases related to Daryagunj violence during CAA protests last year after observing that reading of preamble to the Constitution does not amount to incitement to violence.
Pracha had also appeared in a case in the Delhi High Court which challenged an instruction issued by the Delhi police to show restraint while arresting accused in Delhi riots case taking note of ‘resentment in Hindu Community’.
The High Court refused to interfere with the instruction observing that it was issued after the petitioner was chargesheeted and hence no “prejudice was caused” to the accused.