Delhi riots: Police to allow access to charge sheet on jail computers

Special public prosecutor Amit Prasad, appearing for the police, told additional sessions judge Amitabh Rawat that they have no problem if the charge sheet was uploaded on the computer inside the jail complexes and all the accused in the case have access to it.
A man stands near burnt motorcycles in a riot-affected area, at Shiv Vihar, in New Delhi on March 2, 2020.(Sanchit Khanna/HT file photo)
A man stands near burnt motorcycles in a riot-affected area, at Shiv Vihar, in New Delhi on March 2, 2020.(Sanchit Khanna/HT file photo)
Updated on Jan 06, 2021 12:17 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

The Delhi police on Tuesday agreed to allow 15 people, accused of conspiracy leading to communal riots in Delhi, access to soft copies of the charge sheet on jail computers.

The accused had contended before a court that it was difficult for them to discuss the 17,000-page document during the half-hour legal interview with their lawyers.

Special public prosecutor Amit Prasad, appearing for the police, told additional sessions judge Amitabh Rawat that they have no problem if the charge sheet was uploaded on the computer inside the jail complexes and all the accused in the case have access to it.

The submissions were made when the counsel of former JNU student leader Umar Khalid told the court he has moved an application seeking permission that Khalid be permitted to access the soft copy of the charge sheet in jail.

Khalid, through his counsel, said that it was difficult to discuss the legal strategy and the charge sheet, running into more than 17,000 pages, during the legal interview as it was only for half an hour.

The counsel urged the court that his client may be permitted to access soft copy of the charge sheet in jail, adding either a computer is brought to jail number 2 or he is taken to the computer centre inside the jail premises.

“We have half an hour interview. We cannot discuss the charge sheet or our legal strategy during that time. It is running into thousands of pages,” the counsel said, adding it was hindering Khalid’s right to a fair trial.

Co-accused JNU student Sharjeel Imam also said that the order be extended for all the accused as everyone was in the same boat.

“I have been trying to get access to the charge sheet. Same order be passed for all the accused in the case as we are all in the same boat. I have spent two months in prison speculating news reports,” said Imam

Advocate Sowjhanya Shankaran, appearing for accused Asif Iqbal Tanha, said she had moved an application before the Tihar jail authorities on November 18, seeking access to a computer for Tanha but has not got any response till date.

SPP Prasad said similar orders would be passed for all jails in lines with Khalid’s application.

“So far as Khalid’s application is concerned, similar order be passed for all the jails. I completely agree to that. I agree to it that the charge sheet be uploaded to a computer all can access it,” Prasad said.

The judge concluded, “The accused needs to read what is in the charge sheet”, and put the matter for further hearing on January 19.

Meanwhile, advocate Arjun Dewan, appearing for another accused Athar Khan, claimed that he was suffering from serious medical condition and was not provided proper treatment in jail. Khan’s counsel further alleged that inmates passed communally coloured remarks against him and were causing trouble for him.

Khan also directly addressed the court and claimed that he was not being given the high-fibre diet in jail which the doctor had prescribed for him.

He further said he was quarantined for 14 days every time he was taken out for treatment and during the entire period he was not even allowed to go out of the cell and not allowed to meet even his lawyer.

The accused, including former councillor Ishrat Jahan, Pinjra Tod members Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita, have been charged with the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), for their alleged role in the conspiracy to orchestrate the north east Delhi riots.

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Saturday, January 29, 2022