Despite bail, students in prison as cops ‘verifying address’
- In a Delhi trial court, police sought six days to complete the verification of the “outstation permanent address” of all three accused people -- Devangana Kalita, Natasha Narwal and Asif Iqbal Tanha
Three student activists arrested in connection with the 2020 Delhi riots spent Wednesday night in jail despite securing bail from the Delhi high court 30 hours earlier, because Delhi Police asked for more time to verify the permanent addresses of the three people.
In a Delhi trial court, police sought six days to complete the verification of the “outstation permanent address” of all three accused people -- Jawaharlal Nehru University students Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal and Jamia Millia Islamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha -- and said the process could not be completed earlier due to paucity of time.
Narwal’s permanent address is in Haryana, Kalita’s is in Assam, and Tanha’s is in Jharkhand. The three have been in jail for more than a year.
The trial court will pronounce its order on Thursday morning.
On Tuesday, the high court granted bail to the three people, terming the charges against them “stretched”, “verbiage” and “hyperbole”.
“In so far as verification of “outstation permanent addresses” of accused persons is concerned, since Asif lqbal Tanha and Devangana Kalita are permanent residents of Jharkhand and Assam respectively, the investigating agency requires time till June 21 to verify the said address,” said an application filed by Alok Kumar, additional deputy commission of police (special cell)
“Similarly, accused Natasha Narwal is a permanent resident of Rohtak, therefore, the investigating agency requires time till June 18 and would file report on June 19,” the application added.
Police also said that for each of the accused, one out of two sureties was pending verification.
Advocate Adit Pujari, representing Narwal and Kalita, opposed this petition and said there was no justification for delay in verification of surety. He said that the sureties were already visited by police.
Tanha’s counsel Sowjhanya Shankaran argued that the high court said that he should be released within 24 hours but her client is yet to be released.
Senior advocate Vikas Pahwa said, “The police seeking six days to verify the addresses, which are already known to them and mentioned in the charge sheet, is completely unwarranted. The continued detention of the accused persons post the order of the high court is violative of Article 21 of the Constitution.”