Delhi pogrom case: HC asks for unredacted statements of protected witnesses

Photo: Maktoob

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed trial court to produce unredacted statements of protected witnesses in a sealed cover in a Delhi pogrom case in which Jamia Millia Islamia student leader Asif Iqbal Tanha is prosecuted.

A Bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani asked the local court to place the statements before April 14, the next date of hearing.

Court on March 18 asked the police to file written submissions, unredacted copies of witnesses statements and other relevant documents.

The court expressed surprise on why and how the prosecution did not have copies of the statements of its own witnesses, upon which it was informed by the Special Public Prosecutor Rajat Nair, that as these were protected witnesses, the unredacted copies of the statements were with the trial court only – and that the Investigating Officer was only given the redacted copies from the trial court till now, reports Livelaw.

Tanha was arrested in May last year for allegedly being part of a “premeditated conspiracy” in the pogrom. He has been charged under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

His bail plea was, however, opposed by the Delhi police on the grounds of the riots being “premeditated” and a conspiracy was hatched of which Tanha was a part. But Maktoob had independently verified that Tanha was not present in Delhi during the violence.

The counsel had contended that there was no physical evidence connecting Mr. Tanha to the riots and no allegations with respect to any funds being received by him for terrorist activities.

The trial court, in its October 26, 2020 order, had refused the bail plea on the grounds of him allegedly having played an active role in the entire conspiracy and there being reasonable grounds for believing that the allegations against him were prima facie true.