New Delhi: A Delhi court Monday extended by three days the police custody of JNU student Sharjeel Imam, arrested under the stringent anti terror law — Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, in a case related to communal violence in north east Delhi in February.
Imam was arrested by the Special Cell of Delhi Police on August 25 for allegedly being part of a premeditated conspiracy in connection to the riots during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat granted the police remand for an effective and proper investigation.
Investigators had sought seven days police custody of Imam to probe the case lodged under the anti-terror law.
“The investigation in the present case of conspiracy for Delhi riots which took place in Delhi is continuing. The custodial interrogation has been sought of the accused Sharjeel Imam for confronting the material that has come during the investigation after his responses in the police custody remand.
“In order to have an effective and proper investigation, I deem it fit to allow the present application for seeking police custody remand of the accused Sharjeel Imam. However, it is granted only for a period of three days and not seven days as sought,” the judge said in his order.
The court further directed Imam to be medically examined every 24 hours and permitted his counsel to confer with him for a period not exceeding half an hour at the beginning of the police custody and after every 48 hours during police custody remand.
“The concerned police officials shall ensure that they remain outside the audible range during the said period. Needless to state that the accused (Imam) and his counsel shall follow the necessary distancing protocols in view of the outbreak of COVID-19.
“After expiry of the police custody remand of the accused, IO (investigating officer) shall hand over the custody of the accused to the Jail Superintendent, who shall also follow the protocol regarding the COVID-19,” the court said.
Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad, appearing for the state, told the court certain questions have been asked but Imam did not support the investigation.
The public prosecutor further claimed that Imam gave evasive reply to the questions and now the investigating officer wanted to confront him with the certain material.
Further interrogation is needed in order to unearth deep rooted conspiracy and to collect clinching evidence to arrest the remaining conspirators behind the riots, Prasad claimed.
He said that during the course of investigation, names of some more suspects have come out and Imam was required to be questioned at length about those suspects to obtain their exact particulars for further investigation.
Imam’s further custodial interrogation was required for confrontation with huge technical data, evidence collected during investigation and examining him on various aspects in relation to the investigation, Prasad said.
Advocate Surbhi Dhar, appearing for Imam, opposed the remand application saying whatever answers he had to give, has been given and whatever the questionnaire have to be put, it should have been done by now.
The court had earlier sent him to police custody for four days in the case.
Others booked under the anti-terror law in the case are Pinjra Tod members and JNU students Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal, Jamia Millia Islamia students Asif Iqbal Tanha and Gulfisha Khatoon, former Congress Councillor Ishrat Jahan, Jamia Coordination Committee members Safoora Zargar, Meeran Haider, President of Jamia Alumni Association Shifa-Ur-Rehman, suspended AAP Councillor Tahir Hussain, activist Khalid Saifi, and former student leader Umar Khalid.
Umar Khalid has not been arrested in the case yet.
The police had claimed in the FIR that Umar and his associates had instigated people to start riots in the area and it was a premeditated conspiracy .
Imam was also arrested on January 28 in the case related to violent protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act near the Jamia Millia Islamia University in December last year.
The PhD student at the Jawaharlal Nehru University”s (JNU) Centre for Historical Studies has been booked on sedition and other charges after purported videos of his alleged inflammatory speeches made during protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) were circulated on social media.
He was also arrested by the Guwahati police in a case registered against him under the UAPA in Assam.
Communal clashes had broken out in northeast Delhi on February 24 after violence between citizenship law supporters and protesters spiralled out of control leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured.