Former Delhi University lecturer S.A.R. Geelani, arrested for sedition in connection with an event at the Press Club of India in New Delhi, was on Tuesday remanded to a two-day police custody by a Delhi court.
Mr. Geelani was produced before Metropolitan Magistrate Harvinder Singh, where the police sought his custodial interrogation for two days to identify those involved in raising anti-India slogans.
“Police investigation is integral part of investigation and the accused has said that he can identify those who raised anti-India slogans... Since he (Mr. Geelani) was the convener of the meeting, therefore, the case of grant of police custody is made out,” the court said.
The police told the court that an event was held on February 10, 2016 in which banners were placed showing Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat as martyrs and anti-national slogans along with slogans demanding independence for Kashmir were raised.
It also said the hall in the club was booked by Mr. Geelani through (DU professor and Press Club member) Ali Javed by using his credit card and another person Mudassar was also involved.
The police told the court that it has also accessed a CCTV footage in which some unidentified persons were seen shouting slogans and Mr. Geelani was required for the purpose of their identification.
Advocate Satish Tamta, appearing for Mr. Geelani, opposed the police custody saying he was only the convener and the event was open for all.
“If people have come and shouted slogans, I am not responsible. I cannot get anyone arrested as I don’t recognise anybody. It was an open entry and not restricted by any invitation card. Whatever I know I have told them already since I was in custody for past one day. Besides this, every other information is available in public domain. There is no need for my custody,” Mr. Tamta said.
Mr. Geelani’s police custody comes amid the raging row over the arrest of JNU Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar over sedition charges in connection with an event at the varsity campus against the hanging of Parliament attack case convict Guru on February 9, 2016.
At the Press Club event, a group allegedly shouted slogans hailing Guru, following which the police had registered a case under sections 124A (sedition), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 149 (unlawful assembly) of the IPC against Mr. Geelani and other unnamed persons.
The police had claimed to have registered the FIR taking suo motu cognisance of media clips of the incident.
Following the registration of the FIR, the police questioned for two consecutive days DU professor and Press Club member Mr. Javed, a who had booked the hall for the event
Mr. Geelani was arrested in connection with the 2001 Parliament attack case but was >acquitted for “need of evidence” by the Delhi High Court in October 2003, a decision upheld by the Supreme Court in August 2005, which at the same time had >observed that the needle of suspicion pointed towards him.