A Delhi court on Saturday directed the police to release the electronic devices seized from the editors of The Wire in October.
The police seized the devices during searches at the news website’s office and the homes of four of its editors – Siddharth Varadarajan, MK Venu, Sidharth Bhatia, and Jahnavi Sen. They also searched the home of the organization’s head of product, Mithun Kidambi.
The seizures were conducted as part of an investigation into a First Information Report (FIR) filed by Bharatiya Janata Party leader Amit Malviya, in which he accused the editors of cheating, forgery, defamation, and criminal conspiracy.
Malviya is known for sharing false information and promoting hate against minority groups on social media.
On Saturday, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Siddhartha Malik of Tis Hazari Court observed that the devices had been in police possession for an extended period, and there were no valid reasons to retain them any longer, Live Law reported.
“The argument of the IO [investigating officer] that the devices might again be required for some subsequent investigation is speculative in nature based on the presumption of coming to light some new fact at a later stage, which may or may not happen,” said Malik.
Mirror images of the devices would be available in the forensic science lab and ordered the police to release the devices within 15 days, Malik added.
The BJP politician had filed a complaint against editors of The Wire after the news website published articles claiming that the BJP leader had special privileges through an Instagram program called X-Check that ensured that any posts he reported were removed from the platform immediately, with “no questions asked”. The Wire retracted the articles last year. It also claimed that it had been deceived by a member of its investigative team.