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2020 Delhi riots: HC issues notice to Delhi Police

The Delhi High Court issued a notice to the Delhi Police on Thursday on petitions filed by Devangana Kalita, who is seeking access to specific videos related to the CAA-NRC protests and WhatsApp group chats of police officers in connection with two Delhi riots cases.

Kalita is concurrently seeking a stay on the arguments of charge in both riot cases (FIR 49 of 2020 and FIR 50 of 2020). She claims that the videos, allegedly commissioned by Delhi Police, will demonstrate her innocence and showcase her engagement in peaceful protests during the specified period.

A Bench of Justice Amit Bansal has directed the Delhi Police to submit a status report or reply to the petitions. According to Kalita’s counsel, Advocate Adit S Pujari, the videos form part of the charge sheet against her, and their provision is crucial for her defense.

Also Read: 2020 Delhi riots: HC asks trial court to decide Sharukh Pathan’s fresh bail plea within a month

On the other side, SPP Madhukar Pandey, representing Delhi Police said that Kalita’s accusations are not solely based on the videos and pointed out the ongoing investigation. Pujari further argued that the videos are necessary for Kalita to exercise her right to seek discharge from the cases.

Pandey raised objections on the maintainability of the petitions, arguing that Kalita should have explored other available remedies instead of approaching the court under writ jurisdiction. The defense insists on the importance of the videos as exculpatory evidence, while the prosecution asserts that the videos are not relied upon in the charge sheets.

Meanwhile, SPP Pandey stated that the accused are still absconding, and the prosecution is conducting further investigations. The High Court will now hear the matter on January 17. Kalita was previously granted bail by the Delhi High Court in June 2021, a decision upheld by the Supreme Court in May.

In August, the trial court had refused to provide entire CCTV footage pertaining to the North-East Delhi area and WhatsApp chats of groups of police officers to Kalita in the UAPA case.

The accused in the case are Umar Khalid, Sharjeel Imam, Tahir Hussain, Asif Iqbal Tanha, Khalid Saifi, Isharat Jahan, Meeran Haider, Gulfisha Fatima, Shifa-Ur-Rehman, Shadab Ahmed, Tasleem Ahmed, Saleem Malik, Mohd. Saleem Khan, Athar Khan, Safoora Zargar, Faizan Khan and Natasha Narwal.

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