HC seeks chart differentiating Sharjeel Imam's role from earlier granted bail accused in Delhi riots
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court asked the city police on Monday to file a chart distinguishing the role of student activist Sharjeel Imam, arrested in a UAPA case linked to the alleged larger conspiracy behind the 2020 communal riots here, from those of co-accused Natasha Narwal, Devangana Kalita and Asif Iqbal Tanha.
A bench of Justices Suresh Kumar Kait and Manoj Jain said in the chart, police can mention the history of the accused, his role and other details distinguishing his case from others.
The bench passed the order while hearing Imam's plea seeking bail in the case. The court listed the matter for further hearing on February 19.
Imam sought bail on grounds of parity, saying six of the 18 accused named in the FIR have already been granted the relief.
Special public prosecutor Amit Prasad opposed the plea. He submitted that different roles have been attributed to different accused in the case involving the larger conspiracy behind the riots.
Prasad contended the court needs to consider the kind of speeches Imam has delivered and activities he got engaged in. Imam, the government lawyer said, cannot be compared to the other accused.
He referred to the Supreme Court order by which the appeal filed by police challenging bail granted to Narwal, Kalita and Tanha was dismissed, and said it is for Imam to convince the court about the merit of his case and it is not incumbent upon the prosecution to prove how his role was different from those who secured bail in the case.
The high court asked the counsel for Imam and the city police to file their written submissions before the next date of hearing.
Sharjeel Imam, United Against Hate founder Khalid Saifi and several others, including student-activist Umar Khalid, have been booked under anti-terror law the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and provisions of the Indian Penal Code for allegedly being the "masterminds" of the February 2020 riots in North-East Delhi which left 53 people dead and over 700 injured.
The violence had erupted during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC).
Besides Imam and Saifi, appeals by other accused Meeran Haider, Shifa Ur Rehman, Saleem Khan, Gulfisha Fatima and others against the dismissal of their bail applications by the trial court are also pending in the high court.
Student activists Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita, Jamia Coordination Committee members Safoora Zargar, former AAP councillor Tahir Hussain and several others have also been booked under the stringent law in the case.
The State's appeal against the bail granted by the trial court to former Congress councillor Ishrat Jahan is also pending.
On October 18, 2022, the high court had refused to grant bail to Umar Khalid in the same case, saying he was in constant touch with other co-accused and allegations against him were prima facie true. PTI SKV