The city police have finally submitted a chargesheet against Mehdi Masroor Biswas, the corporate executive who was arrested six months ago for running the pro-IS twitter account, @shamiWitness.
Biswas, whose cover was blown by an investigative report that appeared in a British channel, has been charged under sections of the UAPA that deal with abeting terrorism and supporting a terrorist organisation.
Under the IPC, he has been charged with sections that deal with waging war against India, sedition, waging war against an Asiatic ally of India as well as creating enmity between communities. He is, of course, the only accused in the chargesheet that runs into nearly 37,000 pages and contains transcripts of all his 11,000-odd tweets in addition to his phone records and other communications.
The process of framing charges against Biswas, who has been in prison since his arrest in December 2014, went through many twists and turns with the police telling the court at one point that they had evidence to show that Biswas was an IS supporters but nothing to connect him to an act of terror.
The task of the police was also slowed down considerably because they had to seek clearances for prosecution from both the central and State governments. Speaking to HT on the condition of anonymity, a senior investigating officer said that the process of getting bureaucratic clearances was frustrating and the entire investigating team was under severe pressure.
The same officer had told HT on May 26, "We have 15 more days to file the chargesheet, which is supposed to be submitted within 180 days. If we don't, Mehdi will be entitled to bail. The clearance from the centre has come but not yet from the State government." The officer had said that they had to get concurrent clearance from the State and central governments as they wanted to charge Biswas under the IPC section that deals with waging war against an ally of India.
Describing the chargesheet as "contrived", Biswas' lawyer and member of the Association for Protection of Civil Rights, Akmal Rizvi, said, "On March 23, the same police team told the court that they had no evidence to show that Biswas had committed a terrorist act. How has all that changed in just a matter of 45 days?"