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Court lashes out at Delhi govt for delaying sanctions to prosecute Kanhaiya, others

Court lashes out at Delhi govt for delaying sanctions to prosecute Kanhaiya, others

New Delhi: A city court on Wednesday lashed out at the Delhi government over delay in granting requisite sanctions to prosecute former JNU Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar and others in a 2016 sedition case, saying they can't sit on file indefinitely. Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Deepak Sherawat directed Delhi Police to ask the authorities concerned to expedite the process while grating it three weeks to procure the sanctions needed to prosecute Kumar and other accused, including former Jawaharlal Nehru University students, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, in the case.

The court posted the matter for February 28 after Delhi Police sought more time to get the sanctions, saying the documents were pending with Delhi government and were expected in a matter of days.

"Ask the authorities concerned to expedite the matter. They can not sit on file for indefinite period," the court said. The court had earlier questioned Delhi Police for filing a charge sheet against Kumar and others without procuring the sanctions. "Why did you file (the charge sheet) without approval? You do not have a legal department," the court had said.

On January 14, the police filed the charge sheet at a city court against Kumar and others, saying he was leading a procession and supported seditious slogans raised on the campus during an event on February 9, 2016. Police also charged Khalid and Bhattacharya for allegedly shouting anti-India slogans during the event to mark the hanging of Parliament-attack mastermind Afzal Guru.

Earlier, they had claimed before the court that Kumar had raised anti-India slogans in 2016 "to incite hatred and disaffection towards the government".

Police cited statements of various witnesses in its charge sheet to state that Kumar was walking along with the protesters where a number of unidentified persons were raising slogans during the event.

The evidence listed by the agency include report of JNU's high-level committee, statement of varsity's registrar Bhupinder Jutshi and the mobile phone recordings in which Kumar was seen arguing with him over cancellation of the programme.

Police said a video shot by a news channel and clips shot by students present at the spot show that Khalid, Bhattacharya and Ashutosh were raising slogans.

It added however that the slogans raised by Ashutosh were not anti-national, unlike those by Khalid and Bhattacharya.

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