Umar Khalid bail hearing: Counsel points out “cooked up” witnesses

The prosecution is yet to present its arguments in the case

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Dr. Umar Khalid’s bail hearing in the Delhi violence conspiracy case continued today as his counsel, Senior Advocate Trideep Pais, brought to the court’s attention the contradictory statements of witnesses presented in the case.

Pais, at the previous hearing on November 3 had made an impactful submission saying, “Protest was secular, chargesheet is communal”, referring to the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests and Khalid’s role in them.

Pais continued his argument about Khalid being a part of a Whatsapp group where he barely sent four messages which were of no actionable consequence. “I’m an outsider virtually to the group and I’m in custody. He (witness) is unable to point out a specific activity that I undertook by virtue of which it can be said that I did an illegal act, terrorist act,” he submitted on behalf of Dr. Khalid.

He further pointed out that the chargesheet states that Khalid had a secret meeting on January 23 and 24, 2020 at Seelampur protest site. He pointed out that the meeting with other co-accused Tasleem and Gulfisha Fatima was posted on Facebook and a picture was also posted. He then wondered aloud how such a meeting could be considered a secret? 

One witness was the person serving tea at this meeting. Pais argued that this witness heard everything about the conspiracy but waited until the violence was over, and also waited for police to approach him before he made his statement. Therefore, Pais deemed this to be a “cooked up statement”. Pais also stated that the police failed to get a statement of the tea-seller under section 164 of CrPC and hence they got another witness to record the statement. However this witness claims to be a protester and does not state that the meeting was secret. He also pointed out that this witness statement was recorded just prior to Khalid’s arrest.

Pais requested the court that he would complete his arguments in an hour post lunch time. While the court was adjourned for after lunch time, the hearing was further adjourned to November 16.

At the previous hearing on November 3, Pais had argued that Chakka Jam is not an offence and that it’s used by students and also done in various agitations.

In September, Khalid, who has been booked under the anti-terror law, completed a year in prison. He has been accused of sections 13 (Punishment for unlawful activities), 16 (Punishment for terrorist act), 17 (Punishment for raising funds for terrorist act) and 18 (Punishment for conspiracy) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.


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