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Delhi Police charge-sheet reads like 'Family Man' script, Court told

New Delhi: Punching holes in the charge-sheet filed in the Delhi riots larger conspiracy case by the Delhi Police, former JNU student Umar Khalid has told a Delhi court that the contents inside it read like a script right out of the Amazon Prime show "Family Man" where "rhetorical allegations" have been made against him "without any factual basis or evidence" to support them.

As part of Khalid's bail hearing before Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat here, his counsel, Senior Advocate Trideep Pais, claimed that the charge-sheet consisted of "hyperbolic allegations" which read like a "9 PM news script of one of those shouting channels". "Please understand, he's not writing the script of Family Man. He is writing a charge-sheet," Pais submitted, referring to the Investigating Officer (IO) in the case. He further said that the charge-sheet was "reflective of the fertile imagination" of the IO.

Pais further submitted that contents of the charge-sheet led to creation of public opinion which was used in place of concrete evidence to "unfairly prosecute people". "This is the kind of stuff which is read and peddled, the creation of public opinion in order to substitute the lack of evidence to carry out your objective of unfairly prosecute people when you have no material to do so".

Broadly basing his arguments on three specific counts, Pais firstly argued that no crime was committed on the date when the complaint was filed in the case.

He also referred to the fact that police had used edited clips of Khalid's speech that were delivered at Amravati and were broadcasted on channels like Republic TV and CNN News18 from the Twitter post of Amit Malviya, National Convenor of BJPs IT Cell.

"There is nothing in that speech which is leading to lawless action, sedition, hatred or any illegality of any sort…" Pais submitted. He further pointed to the contradictory statements of one protected witness called "Saturn" who gave inconsistent answers in both the FIRs naming Khalid, the present one and the other being FIR 101, Khajuri Khas.

"He makes two statements in each FIR. On May 21, he is unaware of what took place in January. But on July 29, he not only speaks of it but he says he goes inside PFI office...then he makes a statement before a Magistrate that he didn't go inside. Then he comes back and makes a statement that he was waiting outside," Pais argued.

Referring to the witness statement as "tailor-made" to suit the situation, the counsel said that "three people meeting and going inside an office is not a conspiracy".

"Is this how charge-sheets are written? It seems like a script of some news channel. Where did they get this from?... This reads like a 9 PM news script like those shouting news channels, those news channels say anything they want. They want to give a slant, they'll give it...absolutely no responsibility," the lawyer told ASJ Rawat.

Pais, while referring to the fact that police in its charge-sheet have referred to the slogan "Bharat Tere Tukde Honge Inshallah Inshallah" which pertained to the JNU 2016 sedition case, said that the Delhi Police claims in the riots charge-sheet that Khalid made "tukde tukde" comment at JNU in 2016 but nowhere was this mentioned in the sedition charge-sheet that he made such comments.

Moreover, terming the contents in the charge-sheet as a "figment of imagination" of the Investigating Officer, Pais argued that police claimed that Khalid had plans to be away from Delhi but didn't have a single statement to support this theory. "This kind of statement goes out in the media and the irresponsible media shows it as proof," he submitted, adding that the last person who travelled with someone and got into the officer's head was "Voldemort from Harry Potter".

The counsel lastly told the court that a "communal colour" was being given to the charge-sheet in the matter "to create a picture in public's mind by giving repeated allegations of Umar being communal". "If you are saying CAA is bad, it means you believe in this country and secularism, but Delhi Police charge-sheet paints anti-CAA protestors as communal," he alleged.

The matter has now been adjourned to September 6.

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