2020 Delhi riots: Court dismisses bail plea of accused charged under UAPA

A court here on Thursday rejected the bail plea of an accused charged in the UAPA case related to the alleged conspiracy behind the 2020 northeast Delhi communal riots, saying he could not claim parity with three other co-accused.

Additional Sessions Judge Sameer Bajpai was hearing the regular bail application of accused Tasleem Ahmed.

The court noted that Ahmed sought parity with the co-accused, Devangana Kalita, Natasha Narwal and Asif Iqbal Tanha who had been granted bail by the Delhi High Court on June 15, 2021.

It further noted the submissions of Ahmed’s counsel, saying according to the chargesheet, the role of his client and the three other co-accused was similar.

The court said that the high court had granted relief to Kalita, Narwal and Tanha after observing that the allegations against them under UAPA provisions were prima facie not true.

It said, “The opinion of the high court is with respect to the co-accused persons only and is not general and, therefore, cannot be considered for any other accused, including the applicant (Ahmed).”

The court underscored that the predecessor court (under the previous judge) had rejected Ahmed’s bail plea in March 2022, observing that for the purpose of bail, there were reasonable grounds for believing that the accusations against Ahmed were prima facie true.

The UAPA provision created an embargo against granting bail to such persons, the court noted.

“Surprisingly, the said order of the predecessor order has not been challenged by the applicant and this court now cannot review its own order and give any contrary opinion,” it said.

Dismissing the plea, the court said, “the desired relief cannot be granted to the applicant on the ground of parity with the other co-accused persons.”

Twenty people including activists Sharjeel Imam, Umar Khalid, Khalid Saifi and former AAP councillor Tahir Hussain, have been booked for their alleged involvement in the larger conspiracy to incite the riots.

The case is being investigated by the Special Cell of Delhi Police.

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