Former Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student and activist, Umar Khalid, moved a Delhi court on Monday asking how the supplementary chargesheet in a case related to the Delhi Riots in February was leaked by the police to the media which has resorted to a “vicious media campaign” against him.
According to a report in The Quint, Khalid said that the media continue to report from the chargesheet under FIR 101. The chargesheet was reportedly filed on December 26 but the lawyers of the accused had not got a copy of until January 4.
Khalid was arrested under FIR 101 on October 1; the second case he is named in under the communal violence in Delhi. The FIR, registered on February 25, is being investigated by the crime branch and pertains to the violence in Khajuri Khas in north-east Delhi
“I am saying with absolute dismay that this pattern of media reporting on the charge sheet before the accused get a copy of it, is prejudicial to the trial. Please ask the prosecution and the investigating officer how is it that the media is getting a copy of the charge sheet before the accused is. The media says that in my confessional statements (disclosure statements) I have admitted to my role in the riots, how does that make sense when I gave it in writing that I had not signed any statement while in police custody on 4 October,” Khalid reportedly said.
He added that he was “well aware” that the confessional statements were not admissible in court but added that there was “an obvious pattern of selected disclosure statements being leaked, so keeping that in mind I request you ask the Investigating Officer how this is being leaked again and again. This is affecting my right to a free and fair trial.”
Advocates Trideep Pais, Sanya Kumar and Rakshanda Deka appeared before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Dinesh Kumar's court on behalf of the former JNU student. Pais reportedly told the court that his client was being subjected to a “vicious media campaign starts. Immediately after the charge sheet the media started saying that Umar Khalid had admitted to the riots, to mobilising people, to bring in women as a front, arranged guns etc. However, when you read the same charge sheet you will know that the accused they talk of was not even present in Delhi.”
Khalid also stressed that he had not signed any statement, adding that the “attempts” to carry out a “media trial” were because the prosecution were not “confident” of the evidence against him.
This is the second instance of Khalid moving court to quell a media trial against him. On November 28, his lawyers had moved an application under FIR 59 which said that “access to the chargesheet has been used to unfairly target the Applicant/Accused and run a vilification campaign against him.” Again, Khalid’s lawyers had said that he did not have access to the chargesheet.
In the current FIR 101, the Delhi Police has alleged that Khalid had made damning disclosures in a statement.
The application was reportedly submitted to Dinesh Kumar's court on January 3 and came up during the hearing on January 4. The matter has been listed for 2:00 pm on Tuesday, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate of Karkardooma Courts in North-East District, Dinesh Kumar, said.