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Delhi HC calls for unredacted statements of protected witnesses

Delhi HC calls for unredacted statements of protected witnesses
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New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Wednesday directed a trial court to place before it the unredacted statements of protected witnesses in a sealed cover for a case related to larger conspiracy in the northeast Delhi riots last year in which Jamia Millia Islamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha is facing prosecution.

A bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Anup Jairam Bhambhani said the statements be placed before April 14, the next date of hearing.

The trial court is directed to forward the original unredacted statements of protected witnesses in a sealed cover to this court on or before the next date of hearing, that is, April 14, the bench said.

With this direction, it allowed and disposed of an application by Delhi Police seeking to call for unredacted statements of protected witnesses in a sealed cover from the trial court.

Names and personal details of protected witnesses are redacted in their statements.

The high court, which had on March 18 reserved its order on Tanha's plea seeking bail in the case, had asked the police to file written submissions, unredacted copies of witnesses statements and other relevant documents.

When the court asked how is it possible that the prosecution does not have copies of statements of its witnesses, Special Public Prosecutor Rajat Nair, representing the police, said these are protected witnesses and the unredacted copies are with the trial court only.

He said when the investigating officer had applied for protection of witnesses, the statements were signed and sealed by the trial court judge and redacted copies were given to the IO.

Tanha was arrested under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in the case in May last year for allegedly being part of a premeditated conspiracy in the riots.

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