A Delhi court has granted extension till September 17 to the police to complete investigation against 10 people booked under the stringent anti-terror law UAPA in a case related to communal violence in northeast Delhi in February.
Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat allowed the police further time to complete its pending probe against Jamia Coordination Committee member Meeran Haider; Jamia students Asif Iqbal Tanha and Gulfisha Khatoon; Jamia Alumni Association President Shifa-Ur-Rehman; JNU students and Pinjra Tod members Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita; suspended AAP councilor Tahir Hussain; former Congress Councillor Ishrat Jahan; and United Against Hate member Khalid and Shadab Ahmed.
The court had earlier extended time till August 14 for completion of investigation against Khalid and Jahan, till August 24 in case of Rehman and till August 29 for Haider, Hussain and Khatoon.
The court said in its August 13 order that the investigation was still going on regarding the conspiracy which was "deep rooted, large scale and multi-layered" and all the different aspects pertaining to different accused persons including inter-linkages were being investigated as regard to the conspiracy.
"Specific reasons for seeking extension have been set out and compelling reasons qua each individual accused for their custody and the investigation so far is also borne out from the case diaries," it said.
"Number of witnesses have been examined in the case and even statements of witnesses including protected witnesses have been recorded which points to the conspiracy and role of accused persons and others," it added.
The court further stated that the role of different organisations involving different accused and different groups was being investigated.
"The role of other persons, having links to accused persons, who may be involved in the conspiracy has also come during investigation. The huge electronic data and evidence was being examined. The money trail/ suspicious funding for riots was also being investigated. The role of other accused persons was also under examination.
"The new facts that have emerged during investigation have to be confronted. The different dimensions of conspiracy including organisations, WhatsApp groups and different accused persons and their inter-linkages along with the electronic records among other things were being investigated," the court said.
During the hearing held through video conferencing, Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad told the court that after seeing the case file, he was satisfied with the progress of the investigation conducted so far against all the 10 accused and it was not possible to complete the probe within their period of detention.
He further said the investigation could not be completed for Khalid and Jahan by August 14 in view of the inter-linkages and overall conspiracy.
The police sought extension of time till September 17 for concluding investigation against the 10 accused, under section 43D (2) (b) of the anti-terror law.
Section 43-D (2) of UAPA provides that if it is not possible to complete the investigation within the 90-day period, then upon the report of the public prosecutor indicating the progress of the probe and the specific reasons for the detention of the accused beyond the 90 days period, after satisfaction, the court can extend the period of probe to 180 days.
The counsels for some of the accused opposed the application saying since earlier application for extension of investigation was allowed for 60 days, the second application cannot be allowed as the extension has to be one time only.
To this the court said that if conditions were being met, it can extend the period of investigation by another 90 days and it would depend on the stage and progress of the probe in the case.
United Against Hate was a citizens' campaign launched in 2017 to protest against series of lynching in the country and was allegedly involved in the violent protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in which financial support was provided by the the PFI, formed in 2006 in Kerala as a successor to the National Democratic Front (NDF).
Pinjra Tod (Break the Cage) was founded in 2015 to make hostels and paying guest accommodations less restrictive for women students.
Communal clashes had broken out in northeast Delhi on February 24 after violence between citizenship law supporters and protesters spiralled out of control leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured.
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