HC flays police report on Tanha ‘confession’ leak to media

‘Vigilance inquiry even worse than ordinary inquiry in a petty theft case’

March 02, 2021 12:57 am | Updated 01:01 am IST - New Delhi

The Delhi High Court on Monday expressed displeasure at the city police’s vigilance inquiry report on the allegation of leaking to media a confessional statement of a Jamia Millia Islamia student arrested in connection with the north-east Delhi riots.

Justice Mukta Gupta said, “This vigilance inquiry is even worse than what they do in an ordinary inquiry in a petty theft case. These are not files sent through couriers, these are hand-held files.” The High Court ordered the Special Commissioner of Police (vigilance) to be present in the virtual proceedings on March 5 in the matter.

The court’s direction came while hearing the plea of 24-year-old Asif Iqbal Tanha, who was aggrieved by various news reports appearing in electronic media that alleged that he had confessed to organising and inciting riots in north-east Delhi last year.

‘Nothing in report’

During the hearing, the police said it had sent the complete case file to the Delhi government and the Ministry of Home Affairs. Reacting to this, the court said, “Where did you do the inquiry, who did you inquire of? Where were the files sent? Who took them to the Delhi government and MHA and who brought them back? There is nothing in the report. It is completely silent.”

The High Court said such leakage of information was prejudicial to the accused and that it intends to find out who did it. The court said if the vigilance inquiry is unable to find out what happened, harsher orders will be passed and the police will have to find out from were the leakage took place.

Mr. Tanha was arrested in May last year for allegedly being part of a “premeditated conspiracy” in the riots.

The High Court had last year told the Delhi police to submit a report on vigilance inquiry conducted on the alleged leak to the media. It had also directed Zee News Media Corporation Limited to submit an affidavit disclosing the source of its news report of the alleged disclosure statement.

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