On the 2nd of March, a Delhi Court continued to hear the case of the ‘larger conspiracy’ hatched ahead of the Delhi riots. The case was heard by Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat. During the hearing, a startling revelation came to the fore. The Special Public Prosecutor named left-leaning portal NewsLaundry.com as an example of how a false narrative is being created against the state investigation.
During the hearing, Special Public Prosecutor cited a report by Left-leaning publication NewsLaundry to say that while the lawyer defending the accused Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita is talking about how the investigative agencies are allegedly ‘leaking’ information to the media, leading to a media trial, even the prosecutor is being subject to the same.
Saying this, SPP Amit Kumar reportedly pulled up a report by NewsLaundry on his phone. Showing it to the judge, Amit Kumar used it as an example of how a narrative was deliberately being created against the investigation into the Delhi Riots and how even the prosecution is being subjected to a media trial.
SPP: Everything written under my name is false. The prosecution also has equal concern when they talk about narratives are being run.#DelhiRiots— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) March 2, 2021
‘Accused facing media trial’, claims defence lawyer of Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita, Umar Khalid chimes in too
The hearing started with the lawyer represented accused Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita demanding that the supplementary chargesheet be made available to the accused by the prosecutor.
During the course of the hearing, Ajit S Pujari, the lawyer of the two accused said that the CCTV footage mentioned in the supplementary chargesheet has been reported by the media and thus, it is obvious that the media has already reviewed the supplementary chargesheet.
While mentioning a Times Now report, Pujari claimed that the sections of the supplementary charge sheet were leaked in the media. He blamed the investigating agency for revealing the details. He added that because of such leakages, the accused in the case have to undergo media trials that is against their rights. Umar Khalid, who appeared in person, said that he had to face discrimination in jail because of the leaked information on the chargesheet.
This statement was made by Pujari after the Special Public Prosecutor said that the demand by Pujari has no merit.
There were several other accused like Asif Iqbal Tanha, Khalid Saifi and others who appeared in person to tell the court that the media was projecting them negatively as ‘rioters’ (dangaai).
Khalid Saifi decided to borrow some lines from Bollywood and said that “I am unable to understand what are the charges against me. They say I was part of the protest. They are making serious allegations against me as being a terrorist. Showing Because my name is khan, I am a terrorist”. He also said that the police was going to the media before going to the court with evidence.
Further, in the context of media trials, the SPP said that it is not just the accused but even the prosecutors face media trials. It is in this context that SPP Amit Kumar had shared the article by Newslaundry.