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Thursday, Nov 14, 2019

‘Tussle with Delhi cops could’ve been avoided if…’: Lawyer with whom it began

The lawyer, Sagar Sharma, had parked a car near prison van at Tis Hazari court campus, leading to a clash between police and advocates

delhi Updated: Nov 08, 2019 10:40 IST
Shiv Sunny
Shiv Sunny
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Sagar Sharma (left) with his boss Lalit Sharma at Tis Hazari court, New Delhi. Sagar says he is being painted a ‘villain’ in the incident involving clashes between lawyers and Delhi Police.
Sagar Sharma (left) with his boss Lalit Sharma at Tis Hazari court, New Delhi. Sagar says he is being painted a ‘villain’ in the incident involving clashes between lawyers and Delhi Police. (HT Photo )
         

A little before 2pm on Saturday, six-foot tall Sagar Sharma drove a green Mahindra Thar into the Tis Hazari court complex and parked it right next to a prison van. A policeman objected to it and the subsequent argument snowballed into a full-blown clash between the lawyers and police, that has left over 50 persons injured so far. For the past four days, the lawyers have abstained from attending courts and on Tuesday, Delhi police personnel launched an unprecedented protest outside the force’s headquarters at ITO.

Sharma, 26, says the situation could have been handled in a proper manner. “It was a bad phase...it could have been avoided if handled properly,” he said on Thursday on the ongoing standoff between the police and the lawyers.

While the clashes have become a talking point, Sagar said he has been painted a “villain”, particularly on the social media. An image of Sagar posing on top of the same SUV has been picked from his social media account and circulated. Some have identified him as the son of a judge.

Also Watch: CCTV footage of Tis Hazari court clashes show DCP North being roughed up 

Sagar said that it was campaign to brand him a “spoilt brat” and a “villain”. “My father is not a judge, the car I was driving is owned by my boss Lalit Sharma, and I come from a middle-class family. The police are spreading rumours to tarnish my image,” said Sagar.

A Delhi University’s Campus Law Centre graduate, Sagar has been working under senior advocate Lalit Sharma at Tis Hazari court for the last three years. He deals in civil, criminal and matrimonial cases.

Sporting a beard and dressed in a tracksuit and his left arm in a bandage cast and sling, Sagar spoke to HT on Thursday. Accompanied by Lalit and another colleague, Sagar said, “Due to the preparations for the district bar elections, the entry from gate number three was blocked. Since we had an urgent hearing at 2pm, I parked the car next to a jail van and handed over the keys to the parking attendant.”

“A policeman objected but I explained the urgency to him. I told him that the parking attendant would park it elsewhere right away, but he abused me,” alleged Sagar.

“When I objected to the verbal abuse, he called his colleague and they manhandled me,” he alleged.

CCTV footage of the event did not offer much clarity for the initial part, but later seemed to suggest that Sagar had hit a policeman. But Sagar said he was simply trying to escape from the policemen and what the camera captured was his “reflex action”.

Sagar alleged that he was pushed and shoved into the lock-up meant for undertrial prisoners. “I kept urging the policemen not to lock him,” said Sagar’s boss, Lalit.

The Delhi Police have denied locking up Sagar. Police have also said that Sagar was taken to the administrative wing of the lock up complex, adjacent to the assistant commissioner’s office.

Sagar was released in three minutes but other lawyers had gathered there by that time. “We all wanted to identify the policemen who had misbehaved with me. So, we were calling them out of the lock-up,” said Lalit.

Delhi police have maintained that the lawyers set two bikes on fire near the lock up and tried to break open the gate(as seen in the CCTV footage).

As lawyers turned aggressive outside, the police again allegedly pulled Sagar into the lock-up, he says. “This time, over a dozen of them kicked and punched me and hit me with lathis,” alleged Sagar. “I am not a terrorist, but was treated like one,” he added.

Sagar, who lives in north Delhi’s Gulabi Bagh with his family, produced CCTV footage of both the occasions he was pulled into the lock-up, but HT cannot independently verify their authenticity.

Sagar said a judge and his lawyer colleagues rescued him, but not before he suffered multiple injuries.

Five days since that incident, Sagar said he wants the return of “peace and harmony”. “Some people posing as lawyers may have misbehaved on Monday (the first day of advocates’ ongoing strike), but lawyers are not hooligans,” said Sagar.