Back in June, the Delhi Police claimed that it was in a meeting on 8 January at Shaheen Bagh, that the conspiracy to have a ‘big blast when Trump visits’ was conceived, but three months down the line and they seem to have forgotten all about it. Instead of this 8 January meeting they have now said that the meeting where it was decided that something big would be planned during US President Donald Trump’s visit to India happened on the intervening night of 16 and 17 February.
Why the change in chronology?
Interestingly, The Quint had broken the story that Delhi Police would have had a hard time defending its claim that the conspiracy was hatched during a meeting on 8 January.
Now why is that? Let’s see what the police had said.
What Did the Charge Sheets Say About 8 Jan Meet?
The Quint accessed two charge sheets submitted by the Delhi Police where the police claimed that the conspiracy to carry out a ‘big blast’ during US President Donald Trump’s visit in February 2020 was hatched at a meeting on 8 January. The three people at this alleged meeting were suspended AAP councillor Tahir Hussain, former JNU student Umar Khalid and United Against Hate founder Khalid Saifi, all three projected as the masterminds of the riots.
These two FIRS are - FIR 101/2020 registered at the crime branch that deals with the violence at Chand Bagh and FIR 65/2020, registered under Dayalpur police station, investigating the death of Intelligence Bureau (IB) Official Ankit Sharma in the same area.
Here’s what the charge sheet under FIR 65 said:
“During investigation, it was also revealed that the accused Tahir Hussain was in touch with Khalid Saifi who is connected with Unite Against Hate Group. Tahir Hussain was also connected to Umar Khalid through Khalid Saifi. Khalid Saifi had arranged Tahir’s meeting with Umar Khalid on 08.01.2020 at Saheen Bagh.
In that meeting, it was decided to have a big blast so that the Central Govt. could be shaken on the issue of CAA/NRC and so as to defame the country in the international arena. In the meeting, Umar Khalid had assured not to bother about the fund as PFI organization would also be ready to provide fund and logistics for these riots. These riots were planned to be happened during or prior to the visit of US President Donald Trump in the month of February, 2020.
For this, all necessary logistics and manpower were arranged prior to these riots and a number of people from U.P. West had been called before these riots for the purpose of riots in Delhi at a large scale. However, a separate case vide FIR No. 59/2020 dated 06.03.2020 for the conspiracy to these riots has been registered by Special Cell and is under investigation.”
Problems With the 8 January Meeting Being the ‘Conspiracy’ Meet
What is curious here is that the first intimation about US President Donald Trump’s possible visit to India in February was on 13 January. It is a report in The Hindu, with the headline, “Trump likely to visit India at the end of February, say sources”.
To add to that, even the first media report on the visit attributed the information to sources and gave tentative dates. So how is it that Umar Khalid, Tahir Hussain and Khalid Saifi allegedly met on 8 January to plan something during Trump’s visit?
The Quint also went through other press releases by the Ministry of External Affairs and the Press Information Bureau (available on their websites) for the whole of December 2019 and all the way up to 8 January 2020 – the date of the crucial conspiracy meeting – and found no mention of Trump’s visit to India.
The expectation from FIR 59 charge sheet was that it would clarify the relevance of this date.
What Does FIR 59 Charge Sheet Say About this 8 Jan Visit?
The other charge sheets discussed above not only mentioned this 8 January meeting, but also stated that the Delhi Police special cell was going to take over the investigation and probe this further. The investigating officer of FIR 65, when asked to reconfirm the date, had said, “It was probably decided on the 8 January or even before that. However, the Special Cell is better placed to explain this to you.”
So one naturally expected that the Delhi Police special cell charge sheet would address this discrepancy and adequately answer the questions that arose. That did not happen. What has happened instead, seems like a cover-up of the discrepancies from the previous charge sheets.
The relevant portion of the charge sheet under FIR 59 reads:
“The visit of US President Donald Trump, which was known to the conspirators from 14 January 2020, when it was first broken on television media, got formal schedule declared on 11.02.2020.”
Interestingly, The Quint had pointed out in the same story how the first news of Trump’s visit, based on sources and tentative dates, was published on 13 January night and up in papers on 14 January morning.
“In pursuance and furtherance of common conspiracy, a meeting of protest site leaders of Chand Bagh, Mustafabad, Kardampuri and Jafrabad was held in the intervening night of 16/17 February at 2:00 am. It was decided in this meeting that a coordinated blockade of roads would take place in north east Delhi during Donald Trump's visit,” the charge sheet into FIR 59 reads.
Therefore, the charge sheet under FIR 59 ends up contradicting the charge sheets under FIRs 65 and 101.
. Read more on India by The Quint.Delhi Police Changes ‘Date of Conspiracy Meet’ After Quint Report?Monsoon Session Ends Eight Days Early: LS, RS Adjourned Sine Die . Read more on India by The Quint.