New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday heard the arguments on the bail plea of Umar Khalid, an accused in the larger conspiracy of Northeast Delhi riots under stringent anti-terror law Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
Khalid’s counsel questioned the trustworthiness of the statement given by the witness on the point of meeting Tahir Hussain, Umar Khalid and Khalid Saifi at the office of the Popular Front of India at Shaheen Bagh.
The Court said that the veracity of witnesses is tested at the stage of the trial, and they are at the stage of bail.
A special bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar is hearing the appeal filed by Umar Khalid.
He has challenged the order passed by the trial court denying bail to him. The matter is listed for hearing on Monday as the special bench will not be assembled on Thursday and Friday. The petition of Sharjeel Imam is also listed for Monday.
Senior Advocate Tridip Pais, appearing for Umar Khalid, began his arguments by raising questions about the veracity of the prosecution witness and the statement given by him. He mentioned the instances of the meeting on January 8, 2020.
Pais argued the said instances are mentioned in two FIRs. One is registered at Khajuri Khas police station in which Umar Khalid is on bail. Another one is connected with the larger conspiracy.
The witness gave two statements before the police in the case registered at Khajuri Khas. In another case, he gave one statement before the police and another before the court. The witness did not mention the incident of the alleged meeting at the PFI office in the statement given on 21 May 2020.
A few days before my arrest he deposed on 27 September about the meeting of Tahir, Umar Khalid and Khalid Saifi, Pais argued.
He further argued that in May, the witness did not mention the meeting, but in September he mentioned it.
“He gave another statement a month later that is different from the previous one. This witness did not speak about the incident when he was first interrogated on 25 May, 2020,” Pais argued.
Senior Advocate also questioned the testimony of protected witness Saturn which was recorded on August 7, 2020 before the court.
Pais said that what the prosecution has done is trying to match the details of incidents and alleged that the accused persons planned a conspiracy. Even they did not figure it out in the same mobile tower location area.
He also referred to the finding of the Sessions Judge who said that the allegation of this meeting between Tahir Hussain, Umar Khalid and Khalid Saifi solely based on one testimony is not worthy.
Pais discarded the allegation of a secret meeting at a secret place by submitting that the secrecy of the meeting is busted from the fact that they got the photograph of the meeting from Facebook.
Justice Mridul remarked, “What is the fact that the prosecution is trying to establish? That three of you met. How can we test the veracity of Saturn’s statement? You are asking us to conduct a mini-trial. We can’t test the veracity of the statement.”
Pais submitted that he is clearly showing two statements, neither of them stands at variance with the other.
This case pertains to large scale violence in Northeast Delhi in February 2020, in which 53 people died and hundreds were injured.