The Special Cell of the Delhi Police on Thursday raided the office of advocate Mehmood Pracha in connection with its investigation into the large-scale communal violence that broke out in the Capital in February, reported ANI. Pracha has been fighting cases on behalf of many accused in the riots.
The searches were carried out after obtaining a warrant from a local court, a senior police officer told The Hindu.
Pracha said the investigators seized his computer and laptop. The police said they were searching for “incriminating documents” and “metadata of outbox” of the official email address of Pracha’s firm.
In August, the Delhi Police had filed a first information report against Pracha, alleging that the advocate had “tutored” victims to give false statements in riot-related cases, according to The Wire. Additional sessions judge Vinod Yadav ordered the police commissioner to issue directions to the special cell or crime branch to probe the allegations against the lawyer. Pracha had denied the allegations.
Clashes had broken out between supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act and those opposing it between February 23 and 26 in North East Delhi, killing 53 people and injuring hundreds. The Delhi Police were accused of either inaction or complicity in some instances of violence, mostly in Muslim neighbourhoods.
The Delhi Police claim the violence was part of a larger conspiracy to defame Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and was hatched by those who organised the protests against the amended Citizenship Act. They further claimed the protestors had secessionist motives and were using “the façade of civil disobedience” to destabilise the government. The police have arrested several activists and students based on these “conspiracy” charges.
Two chargesheets have been filed so far in connection with the violence. In September, a case of rioting was registered at the Khajuri Khas Police Station in which 15 people, including suspended Aam Aadmi Party Councillor Tahir Hussain, were arrested. All the 15 have been accused under sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the Indian Penal Code and Arms Act. The 17,000-page chargesheet was filed at Karkardooma court.
On November 22, the Delhi Police filed a supplementary chargesheet against former student leader Umar Khalid and two other Jawaharlal Nehru University student activists Sharjeel Imam and Faizan Khan in the case. In the 200-page chargesheet, the police claimed that Khalid had “remotely controlled” the violence. The former JNU student was accused of orchestrating the violence during United States President Donald Trump’s visit to Delhi.