New Delhi: Former JNU student leader Umar Khalid, who has been in custody under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in the northeast Delhi riots conspiracy case, defied the Delhi police version of his involvement in the case, calling it a cooked up case in a Delhi court that hears his bail plea.
Advocate Trideep Pais, who represented Khalid in the Additional Sessions court in Delhi, said that the Delhi police concocted a case against his client and others to frame them in the case, citing two contradictions in the police versions.
Pais said that the 21-minute video of Khalid's speech in Maharashtra made on February 17, 2020, the police had shown in the court that was labelled inflammatory by the prosecution, was taken from BJP leader Amit Malviya's tweet that was aired by Republic TV. The channel did not verify the due diligence of the footage, besides that contained only a fraction of the speech, he argued.
When the police sent a notice to Republic TV seeking the raw footage of the speech, the reply stated that the footage was not made by their journalist but obtained from a tweet done by a member of BJP, Pais pointed out.
Not only Republic TV, but News18 also responded that the video footage was taken from Malviya's tweet, Khalid's lawyer stated reading out the reply made by Republic TV in the court.
By the time the full video was availed, the Delhi Police arrested 18 people based on a YouTube video clip that was copied from a tweet under the stringent UAPA rule, he said. Showing the full video in the court, Pais said that anywhere in the speech Khalid could be heard making a call for violence instead he was calling for unity of people quoting Gandhiji.
The lawyer also questioned how could a speech that urged people to unite invoking democratic power be seditious. Pais also pointed out another contradiction made by the Delhi police in the FIR against him that said that Umar Khalid had conspired with other accused on January 8 into creating riots when the former US President Donald Trump visits India while the news about Trump's visit was announced only in February.
The Delhi Police had recently said that the bail plea has no merit and that it will demonstrate the prima facie case against him before the court by referring to the charge sheet filed in the case.
Umar Khalid, along with several others, has been booked under the stringent anti-terror law UAPA. They are accused of being the "masterminds" of the February 2020 violence, which had left 53 people dead and over 700 injured. He has sought bail in the case.