Delhi riots: HC gives two more weeks to Police to complete inquiry into leakage of charge sheets

·3-min read

New Delhi, Jul 6 (PTI) The Delhi High Court on Tuesday allowed Delhi Police two more weeks' to undertake a “comprehensive inquiry” into the leakage of content of charge sheet and supplementary charge sheet filed in case related to communal violence in northeast Delhi last year, to the media even before cognisance was taken by the concerned court.

A Bench of Justice Mukta Gupta directed that the file containing the report on the inquiry be placed before it on the next date of hearing.

Jamia Millia Islamia University student and riots accsued Asif Iqbal Tanha had moved the high court last year, alleging misconduct by police officials in leaking his alleged disclosure statement in the main charge sheet, recorded by the probe agency during the investigation, to the media.

Advocate Sowjhanya Shankaran, representing Tanha, told the court that while an additional affidavit on a subsequent leakage with respect to a supplementary charge sheet had been filed, response from the State was not on record.

Special public prosecutor (SPP) Rajat Nair sought time of two more weeks' from the court to file the report of an ongoing inquiry into the leaks.

He said that although notice was issued to parties concerned for the purposes of the inquiry, the same could not be concluded on account of COVID-19 induced lockdown.

“One institution which keeps moving even during a lockdown is the police”, the high court remarked, to which Nair responded that the agency was burdened with additional duties.

The high court proceeded to record SPP's submission that “a comprehensive inquiry on the leakage of the contents of the charge sheet and the supplementary charge sheet is underway and is likely to be concluded within two weeks” and listed the matter for further hearing on August 5.

The judge also reminded Nair that the Police's earlier vigilance report on the issue “had nothing in it” and that it was not satisfied with it.

The high court had earlier expressed dissatisfaction over the police's vigilance inquiry report into the leakage, terming the inquiry to be worse than an ordinary inquiry in a petty theft case.

Nair asserted that ongoing inquiry “has a wider scope” than the previous one and would cover the leakage of content from both the main and the supplementary charge sheets.

Advocate Mudit Jain, appearing for Zee Media Corporation, sought permission from the court to bring on record Tanha's complaint on the leaks with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

The complaint would show the existence of alternate efficacious remedy, Jain said.

The court asked him to file a response and “it will be seen”. Tanha, in his petition, said he was aggrieved by various publications reporting that he has confessed to orchestrating the Delhi riots and alleged that he was coerced to sign certain papers in the effective custody of police.

He contended that the action of the media houses – Zee Media Corporation and OpIndia- in placing contents from charge sheet in the media violated the programme code.

Tanha, who was arrested in May 2020, was recently released from jail after the high court granted him bail in the riots case on larger conspiracy.

The police had said that Tanha, a resident of Abul Fazal Enclave in Shaheen Bagh, was a member of the Students Islamic Organization and was part of the Jamia Coordination Committee which spearheaded protests against the new citizenship law. PTI ADS RKS RKS

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