A court in Delhi on Monday rejected the police’s petition seeking four-day custody of actor-activist Deep Sidhu in connection with the second complaint filed against him for the violence at the Red Fort in January, Live Law reported. Instead, the court sent him to judicial custody for 14 days.
On April 17, Sidhu had been granted bail in the first FIR lodged in connection with the violence that took place at the monument during the farmers’ Republic Day tractor rally. However, he was arrested hours later in a complaint filed by the Archaeological Survey of India for damage to the Red Fort.
During the hearing of the case on Monday, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Gajendra Singh Nagar said there were no grounds for the police to seek Sidhu’s remand for four days.
Sidhu, while opposing the police’s petition for his custody, had accused them of “acting like emperors”. He also demanded departmental action against them.
Abhishek Gupta, the actor’s lawyer, told the court that his client was granted bail in the first case on merit and demanded his immediate release.
The lawyer added that the allegations in both the FIRs were identical. He said that the Crime Branch of the Delhi Police has already done custodial interrogation in the first FIR and that the entire case was based on videos available on social media.
“This arrest is illegal, it is malafide,” Gupta said. “They want to negate the order of the bail. Today they are seeking police remand. This is a grave upfront to the rights of the individual. Why did they not arrest me all this while?.
The court asked why the police did not arrest Sidhu before he was granted bail. To this, the prosecution replied that it was the prerogative of the investigating agency.
Red Fort violence
Sidhu was arrested by the Delhi Police’s Special Cell on February 9 in connection with the first case. The police alleged that the 36-year-old actor entered the Red Fort with swords, sticks and flags on January 26 and gave speeches to incite violence.
At least one protestor was killed and over 300 police officers were injured after a section of farmers protesting against the government’s agriculture laws took to the streets of Delhi on tractors, horses and on foot to call for the repeal of the legislations. Protestors broke through barricades and poured into the city, clashing with a police force that tried to push them back with tear gas and a baton charge.
One group forced its way into the Red Fort. A few protestors also climbed a flagstaff and hoisted the Nishan Sahib, a religious flag that flies atop gurudwaras.
The Delhi Police registered a criminal case under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and invoked sedition charges in connection with the violence at Red Fort.
Thousands of farmers have camped outside Delhi since November, demanding that the Centre repeal the three laws that open up the country’s agriculture markets to private companies. In January, the Supreme Court had suspended the implementation of the farm laws until further orders.