Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair in Bengaluru; Delhi police search his home
Mohammed Zubair, the co-founder of fact-checking website Alt News, on Thursday was brought to Bengaluru by a team from Delhi Police's Special Cell who searched his home in connection with the case registered against him, news agency PTI reported.
"Our four-member team, with Zubair who is in police custody, has reached his house in Bengaluru. Our team members are there to collect electronic evidence in relation to the case. This includes phone or laptop he must have used to post the tweet," a senior officer told PTI.
Earlier today the Delhi high court agreed to hear tomorrow a plea challenging his arrest and interrogation.
Zubair was arrested Monday - weeks after he flagged ex-BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma's comments in the Prophet row - and in connection with an allegedly objectionable tweet he posted in 2018.
He was sent to the custody of Delhi Police for one day and that was extended Tuesday after the police claimed he was not co-operating and refused to surrender electronic devices from 2018 - ones allegedly used to post the tweet.
His lawyer, Kawalpreet Kaur, said police knew Zubair lost his phone. "The mobile phone he has is a new one and police are aware of the matter," she said.
He had been taken to Bengaluru today to search for the phone. The officer also said the phone Zubair uses now did not have information about the case.
Police, meanwhile, are also looking into Zubair's financial transactions - a move his colleague and Alt News co-founder Pratik Sinha has slammed.
Sinha said police were 'linking donations received by Alt News to Zubair' and offered Zubair's personal bank statements as proof.
Police also said the Twitter account that raised the original complaint does not exist now.
The FIR against the journalist - a copy of which has been seen by Hindustan Times - was registered on the basis of a sub-inspector's complaint; the document is not online because of its sensitive nature, officials have said.
The complainant said he was monitoring social media when he came across a post seeking action against Zubair for a tweet that said: 'BEFORE 2014: Honeymoon Hotel. After 2014: Hanuman Hotel' and had an image of the hotel's signboard.
Sinha has alleged Zubair was arrested without notice - which is mandatory under law for the sections under which he has been held. He also said that no police person taking Zubair away had any name tag.
On Tuesday he tweeted - in response to a tweet by a TV news channel showing screenshots of the remand copy - "… Zubair's lawyers haven't been provided the copy despite multiple requests to the concerned police personnel."
Mohammed Zubair's arrest has sparked waves of condemnation online, with journalists, activists and opposition leaders speaking out in support.
With inputs from PTI
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