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Delhi Police agrees to provide soft copies of chargesheet to all accused

Delhi Police agrees to provide soft copies of chargesheet to all accused

New delhi: The Delhi Police on Tuesday agreed to provide former JNU student and UAPA accused Umar Khalid and all the other 17 accused of a "larger conspiracy" in connection with Delhi riots, the softcopies of the chargesheet after their counsels told a Delhi court that absence of the same is "hampering their trial".

Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad made the submission before Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat, in response to an application moved by Khalid's lawyer seeking directions to provide him the softcopy of the chargesheet through a computer inside the prison premises.

Senior Advocate Trideep Pais, for Khalid, said, "He (Khalid) should be provided an e-copy of the chargesheet…on whatever computers available or accessible to him. Either a computer is brought to jail number 2 or he is taken to the computer centre inside the jail premises". "Half-an-hour mulakats are not enough to discuss various applications and form a legal strategy," Pais told the court.

During the hearing, Khalid stated that he had moved an application on January 2 with the jail superintendent asking that a softcopy should be provided to him as soon as it is made available by the court. "In the past conversations, he has said that CDs and pen drives are not allowed inside…this is hampering my right to a fair trial. The unavailability of chargesheet for 11-and-a-half months…I don't know what is alleged in the chargesheet, I only know what is alleged in the media," he claimed.

Meanwhile, another accused and former JNU student Sharjeel Imam also told the court that all the accused be provided access to the soft copies of the chargesheet through a computer. "I would request you to provide all the accused access to the chargesheet as all are in the same boat…I was in jail when the riots happened so I have no knowledge whatsoever of what happened outside…I have spent two months speculating and reading what media is showing," Sharjeel told ASJ Rawat.

Advocate Sowjhanya Shankaran, on behalf of Asif Iqbal Tanha, argued that she had moved an application on November 18 asking the jail superintendent whether a facility to provide softcopies of chargesheet was available with them but has received no response. She asked the court to seek a report from jail authorities in this regard.

Conceding to the arguments made by the counsels, SPP Prasad submitted that with regard to Khalid's submission, the same should be applied to all jails and all accused should be provided access to the chargesheet. "The accused needs to read what is in the chargesheet," ASJ Rawat observed.

Advocate Arjun Dewan, on behalf of Athar, also told the court that his client was being subjected to communal remarks by his co-inmates inside the prison. The matter has been posted for further hearing on January 19.

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