The names of senior advocate Prashant Bhushan and Congress Party leader Salman Khurshid appear in the chargesheet for First Information Report (FIR) 59/2020 Crime Branch, which accuses students, social and political activists, and a suspended Aam Aadmi Party councillor of planning the Delhi riots.
Bhushan and Khurshid’s names appear in the “disclosure statements” attributed to two accused in the case, a former Congress councillor Ishrat Jahan and businessman Mohammed Khalid aka Khalid Saifi.
Legally speaking, this doesn’t make Bhushan or Khurshid an accused in the case as yet, but lawyers say it exposes them to further investigation and leaves them vulnerable to being implicated in the so-called conspiracy in the future under section 120 (B) of the Indian Penal Code.
In the statements, recorded by the Delhi Police, both Jahan and Saifi say Bhushan and Khurshid made provocative statements at the Khajuri protest site in northeast Delhi.
Lawyers for the accused say the police have falsified the disclosure statements.
“The police have written the disclosure statements. There is no truth to it,” Pradeep Teotia, Jahan’s lawyer, told HuffPost India.
“Made up,” said Harsh Bora, Saifi’s lawyer.
Disclosure statements are taken soon after an arrest, and do not have evidentiary value in a trial unless they lead to the discovery of new evidence.
Bhushan and Khurshid follow other critics of the Narendra Modi government and the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who spoke at protests opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in December and January, and now find their names appearing in Delhi Police chargesheets related to the Delhi riots in February.
The appearance of these prominent names has lent credence to the suspicion that the BJP is leaning on the Delhi Police to muzzle those opposed to the Narendra Modi government.
Swaraj Abhiyan leader Yogendra Yadav, whose name was recently reported...