HC restrains Delhi Police from circulating riots accused info

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has restrained the police from circulating any information regarding allegations and evidence collected against any accused in the riots cases with any person, including those in the media or on social media platforms.

“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,” said a single judge bench of the high court presided by Justice Vibhu Bakhru.

The order was passed while the court was hearing a petition filed by PinjraTod activist Devangana Kalita through advocates Adit Pujari and Kriti Awasthi seeking the court’s direction to the Delhi Police to not leak any allegations pertaining to the Petitioner to the media pending investigation, and thereafter during trial.

“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,” Devangana said in her plea.

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The court issued notice to the Delhi Police and has asked the concerned DCP of the Crime Branch to file a personal affidavit affirming whether any such information as is mentioned in the present petition has been circulated by the officials of the Crime Branch to third persons, journalists or on social media.

“Let the counter-affidavit along with affidavit of the concerned DCP as directed, be filed within a period of two weeks from today. Rejoinder, if any, be filed within a period of one week thereafter, the bench said while posting the matter for further hearing for July 9.

During the course of hearing, Devangana told the court that the information circulated by the police is selective and also misleading.

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Petitioner’s counsel Adit Pujari referred to a note allegedly circulated by the Crime Branch and contended that the Crime Branch is leaking out such selective information and evidence to persons from the media.

Initially, Devangana was nabbed for Jafrabad violence case, north-east violence case and then for Daryaganj violence case. However, 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 Natasha and Devangana 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.

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