Delhi riots: Delhi HC grants bail to SIM card salesman charged under UAPA

The Delhi High Court has granted bail to a SIM card salesman, arrested under the anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in connection with the north-east Delhi riots, noting that the police has failed to give any evidence that he was directly involved in the protest against Citizenship Amendment Act.

“It is not the case of the investigating agency that the petitioner (Faizan Khan) was part of any such WhatsApp groups which were made to coordinate/organize protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019,” Justice Suresh Kumar Kait said.

The judge further pointed out that there was no allegation against Mr Khan that he engaged in any form of terror funding or such other ancillary activity.

“For invoking the UAPA against the present petitioner, it is the duty of the investigating agency to demonstrate that the petitioner had “actual knowledge” that the said SIM card would be used for organizing the protests,” the high court said.

“There is no proof on record such as CCTV footage, video or chats of petitioner with any of the group except the allegation that he provided SIM on fake ID in December 2019 and taken a small amount of ₹200/- for the same,” Justice Kait said.

It is not the case of the prosecution that he provided many SIMs and continued to do the same. It is also not the case of prosecution that he was part of any chat-group or part of any group who conspired to commit offence as alleged in the present case, the judge highlighted.

The high court rejected the argument made by additional solicitor general S.V. Raju that since inception Mr Khan was well aware about the conspiracy of riots. Thr ASG had claimed that the SIM Card supplied by Mr Khan was further used to managed the various sites and to mobilize the Muslim people of area on the protest sites which further led to Chakka Jaam and riots in various protest site in Delhi.

The judge also took note of the fact that Mr Khan voluntarily appeared before the agency for questioning and did not evade or flee between the periods of registration of the FIR on March 06 and the date of his arrest July 29.

“This is material fact shows that the petitioner has fully cooperated with the probe and had made himself available as and when directed by the investigating agency,” the high court said.

During interrogation Mr Khan disclosed that Jamia Mailia Islamia University student Asif Iqbal Tanha visited the shop and had demanded the SIM card on a fake ID. Mr Khan activated the SIM Card on using ID of one Abdul Jabbar with the live photograph of one Gaurav Kumar Diwakar, working as a salesman in the shop.

Senior advocate Salman Khushid, appearing on behalf Mr Khan, submitted that the investigating agency has misapplied and wrongly invoked UAPA against his client. “The invocation of the UAPA, 1967 vis-à-vis the petitioner is a gross abuse by the investigating agency to deprive the petitioner of his personal liberty,” Mr Khurshid had argued.

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Printable version | Nov 25, 2020 6:17:40 AM |

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