Umar Khalid, accused under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in a case related to Delhi Riots of February 2020, told a Delhi court on Tuesday that Khalid and co-accused Sharjeel Imam are not ideologically aligned as perceived from the allegations mentioned in the chargesheet in the case [Umar Khalid v. State].
Senior Advocate Trideep Pais representing Khalid, argued that the prosecution’s “wish to paint every accused with one brush” would crumble once the chargesheet filed in the case was examined.
The chargesheet claimed that Khalid was Imam's "senior and mentor".
“Senior, mentor – this tadka (flavour) has been put by them," argued Pais.
"Your wish to paint every accused with one brush crumbles when you look at the chargesheet…. Where did you get it from? It's from your mind. Half is from the fertile imagination of the officers and script writers," he added.
In the hearing, which took place physically, Pais began his arguments before Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat and sought bail for Khalid.
The judge was hearing a fresh bail application filed under Section 437 of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). Pais had withdrawn the plea filed under Section 439 of CrPC previously.
Pais pointed out that the police's chargesheet alleged that Khalid was part of a WhatsApp group made by Muslim students protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
"Creating a WhatsApp group of Muslim students is a terror? No witness to show the group was made at my insistence," he said.
It was argued that it had been alleged that co-accused Imam had created the group in consultation with Khalid.
"If this is your best evidence, the man who created the group is speaking without any coercion. The allegation is that Imam and Khalid created a group of Muslim students," he said.
Regarding Khalid and Imam being painted with same brush, Pais read out a portion from the chargesheet and said that Imam wanted to organise protests against CAA on his own.
According to Pais, some of the statements mentioned in the chargesheet showed that protests were done by Imam alone.
“Chats show that he wants to do it on his own. They're not ideologically aligned,” he argued.
Pais further submitted that a meeting that had taken place among various participants including Khalid was stated to be a secret meeting by the prosecution.
He reasoned if it was a secret meeting, its photo wouldn’t have been put out on social media.
The reference was to the meetings organised among civil society members, activists and lawyers against the citizenship law.
“It can't be a secret meeting if is posted somewhere… Where does it say it's a crime? Meeting has been shown everywhere branded as a conspiracy. Please tell me the criminality in this page,” said Pais referring to the relevant portion of the cited document during the hearing.
“If it was such a secret.. mere presence in a meeting is not illegal. At best, it refers to a statement.. To have a Chakka Jam.. This great meeting boils down to these three witnesses,” he said.
The witness statements, Pais argued, could not support the prosecution’s allegations against his client.
“If I am mastermind, then why are these witnesses not saying what suits you? Attending such meetings which are in public realm is not a crime,” it was submitted.
During an earlier hearing, Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad had objected to a plea filed on behalf of Khalid that purportedly accused the prosecution of utilising a "dilatory tactic"
The arguments will continue on November 2, 2021.