Asif Tanha bail plea: Delhi HC seeks unredacted witness statements from trial court

The orders on Tanha’s bail plea are still reserved while the court awaits relevant documents to be submitted

Asif Tanha

The Delhi High Court has sought unredacted copies of statements of prosecution witnesses from the trial court while hearing the bail plea of Delhi riots conspiracy accused Asif Iqbal Tanha. The court had sought the same from the Public prosecutor but he submitted that since they were protected witnesses, the unredacted copies remained with the trial court, reported LiveLaw.

The bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Anup Jairam Bhambhani had reserved orders on Tanha’s bail plea and had asked the police to file written submissions, unredacted copies of witness statements, as their name and personal details were redacted in the statements.

The court reserved order in the bail plea on March 18 and is yet to pronounce it.

The case

The communal clashes in North East Delhi that broke out on February 24, 2020, resulted in the registration of FIR 59/2020 lodged by the Delhi Police Special Cell. The Police have reportedly alleged that Tanha is a close associate of co accused Safoora Zargar, Umar Khalid, and Sharjeel Imam, and played an active role in orchestrating the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act.

It was alleged that Asif Tanha conspired, along with others, to “overthrow the Government” by setting up a chakka jam (road blockade) in Muslim-dominated areas. Another allegation levelled against him is that he purchased a mobile SIM card by using fake documents, and the same was used in planning the blockade, riots and was also used to create a WhatsApp group.

On October 26, 2020, the Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat had denied Tanha bail on grounds that the accusations against him are prima facie true. 

Tanha had also filed a petition last year alleging that the police had leaked his disclosure statement to the media, as news portals like OpIndia and Zee Media had carried news reports allegedly establishing his guilt. Justice Mukta Gupta had slammed the Delhi Police for submitting a ‘half-baked’ vigilance enquiry report in this regard.


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