A Delhi court on Tuesday expressed displeasure that the accused in the February riots case were not being given a uniform time slot for reading the chargesheet, reported PTI. The Delhi Police have uploaded the 18,000-page chargesheet on the computer in the prisons.
The matter came to light when several accused complained that they have not been given a proper time slot to read the chargesheet. Former Jawaharlal Nehru University student Umar Khalid said he had been given three hours some days, while other days he is allotted only an hour. Khalid asked the court to set a standard time per day for the accused to read the document.
JNU student Sharjeel Imam claimed he has been given two hours to read the chargesheet while former Congress councillor Ishrat Jahan said she was given one hour and Jamia Millia Islamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha said his permitted time was only 30 minutes.
“What’s the point of uploading it on the computer if the accused cannot access it?” asked Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat. “Why are they given different time slots?”
On January 5, the court had agreed to give the accused an e-copy of the chargesheet. Justice Rawat has now put up the matter for further hearing on February 2.
During the hearing on Tuesday held through video conferencing, accused Khalid Saifi, Shifa Ur-Rehman and Shadab Ahmed claimed that the chargesheet has been uploaded in the jail computer as per the court’s orders but they have not been given access to it.
Suspended Aam Aadmi Party Councillor and co-accused Tahir Hussain, on the other hand, claimed he has not been able to read the chargesheet as the computer was always occupied. Hussain sought permission for a pendrive in which the chargesheet is uploaded so that he can go to the library and read it.
Meanwhile, the court extended the judicial custody of Khalid, Imam and Hussain until February 2, reported The Times of India. The three were arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Clashes had broken out between the supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act and those opposing it between February 23 and February 26 in North East Delhi, claiming 53 lives and injuring hundreds. The 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 planned by those who organised the protests against the amended Citizenship Amendment Act. They also claimed the protestors had secessionist motives and were using “the facade of civil disobedience” to destabilise the government. The police have arrested several activists and students based on these “conspiracy” charges.