After Supreme Court Advocate Prashant Bhushan raised questions over the raid by Delhi Police against ISIS ‘poster boy’ lawyer Mehmood Pracha, Delhi Police has released a point-wise rebuttal of Bhushan’s allegations. On January 13, Prashant Bhushan had held a press briefing regarding the search carried out by Delhi police special cell at Pracha’s office and residence in December last year.
The Press Note on the malafide raid by Delhi police special cell on the office & residence of Advocate Mahmood Pracha who is prosecuting the Delhi police for its malafide investigation & defending several persons in the Delhi Riots case pic.twitter.com/0rQaRHuhoR— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) January 13, 2021
Bhushan termed the court-ordered investigation against Pracha as “malafide” and raised certain objections over the investigation and the intention of Delhi police. Bhushan alleged that the police wanted to seize the hard discs of Pracha’s computer which was not authorised in the search warrant. He also said that the police threatened Pracha using the name of Home Minister Amit Shah. In their rebuttal of Bhushan’s claims, Delhi police alleged that Bhushan was making another attempt towards contempt of court by not respecting the order of the court.
कल श्री प्रशांत भूषण, अधिवक्ता ने एक प्रेस विज्ञप्ति दी थी जिसमें दिल्ली पुलिस द्वारा करे जा रहे एक मुक़द्दमें के विवेचन की आलोचना करी गयी थी।— #DilKiPolice Delhi Police (@DelhiPolice) January 14, 2021
सभी उठाये गए मुद्दों का सत्य और तथ्य आधारित जवाब जन सूचना के लिए संलग्न है।@CPDelhi @LtGovDelhi @PMOIndia @HMOIndia #WearAMask pic.twitter.com/woGFIe1X6R
Here are the objections raised by Bhushan against the search and the corresponding rebuttal of Delhi police:
- According to Bhushan, the email the police was looking for was already sent by Pracha to various authorities including Commissioner of Police. He alleged that the search was conducted in order to get access to Pracha’s personal and private information and the conversations between him and his clients which are prevented from disclosure under the law. Refuting Bhushan’s claims Delhi police said that intent behind conducting the search was to present all the evidence present in Pracha’s computer before the court to prove the allegations against him.
- With respect to Bhushan’s allegation that Delhi police wanted to access the details of the conversation between Pracha and his clients that are protected from disclosure under the law, the police quoted the court order that said that any such conversation that happened as part of some criminal conspiracy are excluded from the protection of the law. This is irrespective of whether the advocate was aware of the criminal conspiracy. “Law does not offer any protection to act committed as part of a criminal conspiracy, even if it is committed by a friend Prashant Bhushan”, the statement read.
- Bhushan had said that the Investigating Officer should have issued a summon or notice to Pracha under section 91 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) requiring him to produce the concerned documents. Responding to Bhushan’s remarks the police said that an accused is provided ample opportunity to present his side of the story.
In their statement, Delhi police also called out Bhushan for raising questions over the court order saying that court did not provide reasons in the order for carrying out the search at Pracha’s office and residence. Taking a veiled dig at Bhushan Delhi police said, “The truth is that it becomes difficult for some people who play their tactics in courts every day to accept that no one is above law”. The police said that Pracha used all his connections and power to avoid the search by Delhi police. They further said that instead of cooperating with the police in the investigation of the matter, Pracha obstructed the investigation and tried to intimidate the independent public witnesses.
The Delhi Police have also stated that Pracha had tried to project accused as ‘innocent victims, and colluded to frame innocents as accused under grave offences. He is also accused of trying to mislead the legal process by creating false statements and produce false witnesses. They added that it is not a lawyer’s job to advise its client as to how to commit a crime or forgery.
On Bhushan’s question over the necessity of a search warrant and alluding that it was ‘illegal’, the Delhi Police stated that it is another attempt by Bhushan to display his disregard for the Apex Court and its orders and it only shows that Prashant Bhushan has no respect for the Supreme Court and the rule of law.
The investigation against Mehmood Pracha
Delhi police special cell had conducted raids at the office of Advocate Mehmood Pracha who is accused of forging an affidavit and tutoring the victims of anti-Hindu Delhi riots of giving false statements. The police was looking for incriminating documents and metadata of the outbox of the official email id of Pracha’s law firm. Pracha was booked under section 182, 193, 420, 468, 471, 472, 473, 120B of the IPC.
During the raid at his office Pracha allegedly misbehaved with the police personnel and obstructed the raids conducted by the Delhi police. An FIR was filed by the Counter Intelligence Unit of Delhi Police Special Cell under sections 186, 353 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code at Nizamuddin police station against Pracha allegedly for obstructing a public servant from discharging public duty using criminal force.