SC refuses Delhi Police plea against bail to riot accused

New Delhi:  The Supreme Court on Monday declined to entertain Delhi Police’s plea against bail granted to a man accused of selling a SIM card on a fake identity to another accused in connection with the violence during the anti-CAA protests in the national capital in February.

A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan refused to entertain the Delhi Police appeal challenging the Delhi High Court’s October 23 order, granting bail to Faizan Khan, after observing that police have not brought on record convincing material to show the accused was involved in the conspiracy to organise protests against the CAA.

The police had accused Khan of supplying a SIM card, without mandatory verification of identity, to a student to enable participation in the conspiracy without being identified.

The police had invoked the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against him, alleging that SIM cards procured using fake IDs were used to coordinate protests against the CAA.

The High Court had noted that for invoking the UAPA against the petitioner, it is the duty of the investigating agency to demonstrate that the petitioner had “actual knowledge” that the said SIM card would be used for organising protests.

“It was imperative for the investigating agency to demonstrate that the petitioner had ‘active knowledge’ about the utilisation of the said SIM card. It is not alleged that the petitioner was party to any such conspiracy to organise protests,” said the High Court.

Observing that the petitioner deserves bail, the court, while granting bail, directed him to submit a personal bail bond of Rs 25,000 with one surety of the like amount.

Khan was arrested by the Delhi Police on July 29 on charges of being part of the conspiracy hatched by Umar Khalid and his associates to organize the riots in north-east Delhi during the visit of US President Donald Trump in February.

He had allegedly supplied and activated a SIM card registered fraudulently in the name of Abdul Jabbar, but actually used by the Jamia Coordination Committee (JCC) headed by Jamia student Safoora Zargar. Khan has denied the police’s allegations.