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Delhi riots

Delhi Court appoints Local Commissioner to oversee sealing of lawyer's computer


Advocate Mehmood Pracha, representing the accused in the north-east Delhi riots, will keep posession of the computer and has been asked not to tamper with it.

A court in New Delhi on Saturday appointed a Local Commissioner (LC) and directed the police to coordinate with him a visit to advocate Mehmood Pracha’s office to seal his computer in a case of alleged tutoring of a witness in connection with the north-east Delhi riots.

The sessions court, which stayed till the next date of hearing, April 28, the magistrate court’s order directing a search warrant against Mr. Pracha to be executed, gave the directions after Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad did not object to Mr. Pracha’s proposal to appoint an LC.

Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana directed the Investigating Officer (IO) to go to Mr. Pracha’s office on Saturday and seize and seal the computer. It directed that the entire procedure be videographed in the presence of advocate Avneet Kaur who was appointed as the Local Commissioner.

The court, however, added that the computer will remain in Mr. Pracha’s custody and directed him not to tamper with it.

Mr. Pracha is representing some of the accused in cases related to the riots that took place in the national capital in February last year.

The court was hearing an appeal by Mr. Pracha against a magistrate court order directing the search warrant against him be executed in accordance with law, subject to the safeguards cited by experts.

The court put up the matter for further hearing on April 28.

During Saturday’s hearing, the IO and Mr. Pracha stated that the computer in question has not been tampered with so far by either of them.

Mr. Pracha’s office was raided by Delhi Police in connection with an FIR alleging that the advocate tutored a witness to initiate a false riots case.

He had moved the court seeking directions for retrieval of relevant information from his hard disk and raised concerns regarding the protection of his client’s data.

The magistrate court had said that the collection of evidence was intrinsic to investigation and the hands of the investigators cannot be tied to prevent them from collecting evidence.

It had further said that its intervention in the case was not proper and an accused cannot dictate the investigating officer (IO) about the mode and manner for collection of evidence in an investigation.

It also said expert opinion reflected that the “target data” can be stored/ copied/ retrieved in a pen drive/memory device without interference to other data stored in a hard disk.

It had cited expert opinion that if the hard disk was submitted in the forensic lab, the “target data” can be retrieved without any alteration to the metadata associated with “target data” and without creating any evidential vulnerabilities as the data will be retrieved forensically.

“Also, it will not affect the data stored in the hard disk relating to other clients of the applicant (Pracha).”

“Through the use of forensic tools, it is possible to safely segregate the “target data” from other data without any interference/alteration while keeping its authenticity and integrity and at the same time ensuring the admissibility of the “target data” without evidential vulnerabilities,” it had said.

The court had earlier stayed the operation of search warrants issued against Mr. Pracha.

Mr. Pracha had said that a soft copy of the materials was as good as a hard copy under the Information Technology Act.

He had further sought directions to the police for retrieval of data in the presence of a magistrate “They want to threaten my clients. That’s their purpose. In the main Delhi riots cases, they say soft copy is equal to hard copy and we would not give a hard copy of chargesheet. Here they don’t want a soft copy,” he had said.

During arguments, the advocate had also argued that it was clear from the video of the riots that his complaint was not false.

“Larger issues are involved. The entire judicial system is involved. I’m willing to sacrifice myself to save the Constitution. Please protect my clients, Constitution and Evidence Act,” he had added.

Delhi police had opposed Mr. Pracha’s plea, saying that seizing the original hard disk was essential as it ought to be sent to a forensic science laboratory for examination and that a mirror hard disk can be put back into his computer.

The police had claimed that it was searching for “incriminating documents” and metadata of the outbox of the official email id of his firm.



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"Right To Silence Is Virtue In Noisy Times": Facebook Boss To Supreme Court


Facebook India MD said the Delhi assembly cannot examine his company’s role in the Delhi riots.

New Delhi:

Fending off summons by the Delhi assembly over an investigation into last year’s riots in the city, Facebook India Vice President and MD Ajit Mohan Wednesday told the Supreme Court that the “right to silence” is a virtue in present “noisy times” and the legislature had no authority to examine him in a law and order case.

The court reserved its verdict after lawyers representing Facebook official, Delhi assembly and the centre wrapped up submissions on the plea of Mr Mohan challenging summons issued by the ‘Peace and Harmony committee’ of the Delhi assembly for failing to appear before it as a witness in connection with the riots.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Facebook official, said setting up of the panel was not the core function of the Delhi assembly as the law and order issue fell under the domain of the centre in the national capital.

“There are two broad silos, one is existence of powers in compulsion of appearance and second is competence. I will submit that they (Delhi assembly) are wrong on both,” the senior lawyer said.

During the proceedings held through video-conferencing, Mr Salve said these kinds of “expansion of power through the backdoor” should not be allowed and “in the noisy times of the present, right to silence is a virtue. And leave it to me to decide, whether or not I want to go”.

Earlier, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the panel of the assembly, had said that the assembly did have the power to summon.

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However, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had opposed the submission of the panel of the assembly saying that the law and order squarely fell under the domain of the Delhi police which is accountable to the central government.

Earlier in December, the Peace and Harmony committee had moved the top court seeking to intervene in the plea filed by the Facebook Vice President and MD.

On October 15, last year, the centre had told the court that proceedings of the Peace and Harmony committee are “without jurisdiction” as the issue was about law and order.

It had said that “public order and police are not within the domain of the Delhi Legislative Assembly and therefore this proceeding is without jurisdiction.”

(With inputs from PTI)



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Delhi Riots anniversary | Truth has been hijacked to serve political interests: Brinda Karat


CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat, speaking on the first anniversary of the Northeast Delhi Riots in New Delhi on February 23, alleged that there has been a deliberate subversion of justice as truth has been hijacked to serve political interests and to save BJP leaders.

She said that BJP Kapil Mishra, accused of making inflammatory speeches ahead of the riot, has the temerity to say that if required, he would do it again.

“This shows how the government in power has given protection to its leaders who gave inflammatory speeches.” Ms. Karat said.

She added that the government wants no dissent at all and according to its dictionary, dissent equals anti-nationalism, and anti-nationalism becomes patriotism if you wear a saffron scarf and carry a BJP flag.

The CPI(M) demanded an independent, impartial probe into the Delhi Riots. It said that the role of the police has to be questioned and asked how was the capital was allowed to burn for five days under the eye of the Home Minister himself. The party also released a report on the riots detailing the suffering of the victims.

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3 Accused In Delhi Riots Case Get Bail, Judge Cites NDTV Video


Delhi Riots: Violence broke out in northeast Delhi in February last year. (File)

New Delhi:

Three people accused of murder in a case related to the riots in Delhi last year, have been granted bail on the basis of a NDTV video. The video by NDTV’s Ravish Kumar was shown in a Prime Time programme. The defence had pointed out that the video, which the prosecution had used as key evidence, did not show any of the accused.

The Delhi High Court said, “There is no evidence whatsoever, either direct or circumstantial, or forensic against these three people who were accused of killing one Shahid during the Delhi riots in February 2020”.

The petitioners — Junaid, Chand Mohammad and Irshad — were in custody for 10 months since April 2020.

According to the police, the accused were part of the Muslim group which was standing at the rooftop of Saptarishi Building at Chand Bagh area of northeast Delhi to attack the Hindu groups, who were standing at the rooftops of other buildings, firing and pelting stones.

The police alleged that Shahid, who was also present at the top of Saptarishi building, was killed as a result of a gunshot.

The NDTV news story showed a video which captured gunfire from the rooftop of Mohan Nursing Home building, which was opposite Saptarishi building.

The bench observed that the police focused only on buildings of one side in the investigation, ignoring the firing from Mohan Nursing Home.

“As submitted by learned counsel for petitioner that in the same video relied upon by police, at exact after running of video for 10 minutes, it is seen that Ravish Kumar, NDTV primetime anchor saying that a person is firing rifle from Mohan Nursing Home Hospital and is wearing helmet, there is another person who is covering the weapon with handkerchief and later on, they can be seen in the videos as well,” said Justice Suresh Kumar Kait.

“But the investigating agency seems to have concentrated only on one side of the building, although it is an admitted case of prosecution that rioters from both sides were pelting stones at each other and were firing. Further, in this video, the firing is seen to be done only from Mohan Nursing Home and not from Saptarishi building.”

Based on the nature of entry and exit wounds and the analysis of the video, the bench observed that firing was possibly caused by a long-range shot from the Mohan Nursing Home.

The judge also observed that it was hard to believe that the petitioners will kill a person of their own community during riots.

The court said, “Neither there was any motive whatsoever either for them or for any other person allegedly present on the roof of Saptarishi building, to commit the offence, nor has the prosecution alleged any motive in the entire case. Thus, it is hard to believe that a communal riot can be used by the petitioners to cause death of the person of their own community.”

The court noted that no recovery of firearms had been made from the petitioners and charges are yet to be framed in the trial, which is likely to take substantial time. The court ordered that the petitioners, who were under custody since April 1, 2020, should be released on bail.



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Court Seeks Footage On Search At Office Of Advocate For Delhi Riots Accused


Advocate Mehmood Pracha is representing some of the accused in the north-east Delhi riots cases. (File)

New Delhi:

A court on Friday sought a status report from Delhi police in relation to the search conducted by it at the office premises of advocate Mehmood Pracha, a lawyer representing some of the accused in the north-east Delhi riots cases.

The court was hearing an application by the advocate in which he said the investigating officer (IO) threatened him about filing a false case against him. 

Besides seeking the status report by January 5, the court also directed the IO of the case — pertaining to which the search was conducted on Thursday — to remain present before it on December 27, the next date of hearing, along with the entire video footage of any search conducted by him of Pracha”s office premises.

The court passed the directions after Advocate Pracha submitted that a search was conducted at his office from 12 noon on December 24 and till 03:00 AM on December 25 approximately and according to the law, the IO should have intimated forthwith about the search and the seized articles to the Magistrate concerned.

He submitted that, however, the same was not done and therefore, he filed an application in that regard.

Mr Pracha further submitted that the entire search was videographed as per a court order and that he was entitled to a copy of the video footage.

“The applicant has further stated that one Rajiv and the IO have threatened him that they will make a false case against him.

“Accordingly, the applicant has filed for continuous monitoring of the case,” the court noted.

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The court directed the IO to file a reply to Pracha”s application.

“Heard. Record perused. IO is directed to file reply to application… by December 27. IO is further directed to remain present in court along with entire video footage of any search conducted by him of office premises of the applicant,” Duty Magistrate Anshul Singhal said.

The judge further directed the IO to “file a status report” in the case and place it before the court concerned on January 5″.

The Delhi police had alleged that lawyer Pracha forged documents and instigated a man to depose falsely in connection with a case related to the violence in north-east Delhi in February this year.

Advocate Pracha has been representing various accused and complainants in the violence in north-east Delhi.

Various cases were registered over the northeast Delhi violence, in which at least 53 people were killed and several others were injured.



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From Migrant Crisis To Farmers' Protest - 10 Defining Images Of 2020


The coronavirus lockdown forced migrant workers to walk a long way back to their homes

New Delhi:

The year 2020 has been extremely challenging for the entire world. An unprecedented pandemic, a global lockdown, civil unrests across the world and a hard-hit economy were just some of the adversities the planet faced. As 2020 draws to a close, we look at 10 defining images of the year and the stories behind the photos.

1. Shaheen Bagh Protest

The new citizenship law saw widespread protests across the country and swept Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh earlier this year. Hundreds of protesters, mainly women and children, camped out at Shaheen Bagh in south Delhi for over three months earlier this year to protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the NRC (National Register of Citizens) and NPR (National Popular Register). Shortly before the nationwide coronavirus lockdown, the protesters were cleared citing social distancing concerns.

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Like the Shaheen Bagh protesters, thousands of people protested against the new citizenship law

2. Delhi Riots

Northeast Delhi was rocked by communal violence in February this year leaving behind widespread destruction. 53 people died and over 200 were injured in the violence that began with a clash between groups for and against the citizenship law CAA.

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Schools and cars were set on fire during the February riots in northeast Delhi

3. The Coronavirus Lockdown 

The whole world dealt with an unprecedented challenge this year as a deadly disease shrouded the planet. The novel coronavirus, that originated in China’s Wuhan in December 2019, affected the whole world in 2020, killing over 1.6 million. Entire countries were shut down to stop the spread, in phases or at one go, including India, that saw widespread loss of jobs and even lives. The lockdown in India, that started in March, has been slowly lifted in phases through the year.

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A deserted road in New Delhi during the coronavirus lockdown in March

4. Migrant Crisis In India Due To Lockdown

As the lockdown hit India to stop the spread of coronavirus, lakhs of people lost their jobs. Daily wage labourers, mostly migrant workers in cities, were left stranded without a job or money or even a roof over their heads. They started their rigorous journeys home – back to villages in far-away states – on foot, sometimes hitching a ride. With tiny children on their shoulders and luggage behind them, many of their journeys were cut short as they died on the long way back home.

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A boy seen sleeping on a suitcase being wheeled by his mother

5. Migrant Worker Weeping Over Dead Son On Road

A migrant worker’s heart-breaking photo while crying on the roadside in Delhi amid the lockdown was shared widely. Rampukar Pandit became the face of India’s migrant crisis. He had just lost his son and was weeping inconsolably over a phone call when his helplessness was captured in a photograph.

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Rampukar Pandit took a long and arduous journey from Delhi to reach his hometown after his son’s death

6. George Floyd Killing, Black Lives Matter Protests

“I can’t breathe” – these words rung in the years of millions across the world as the news of George Floyd’s custodial death flashed across TV screens. The 46-year-old African-American man died as a white policeman pressed his knee on his neck for over nine and half minutes in United States’ Minneapolis. Massive protests followed in the country for “Black Lives Matter” – spreading to over 60 countries across the world.

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Derek Chauvin was filmed on May 25 pressing his knee on a handcuffed George Floyd’s neck

7. Hong Kong Security Law Passed Amid Protests

In June, China passed a sweeping national security law for Hong Kong, a historic move that critics and many western governments said will smother the finance hub’s freedoms and hollow out its autonomy. Millions took to the streets last year while a smaller hardcore of protesters frequently battled police this year in often violent confrontations that saw more than 9,000 arrested.

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Police detain a man as they clear protesters taking part in a rally against the new national security law in Hong Kong on July 1, 2020

8. PM Modi At Ram Mandir Bhoomi Pujan

Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the first symbolic brick – a 40-kg silver brick – for a grand Ram Temple at Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya at a mega ceremony in August this year. PM Modi returned to the holy city after 29 years to participate in the “Bhoomi Pujan” or a groundbreaking ceremony for the temple. PM Modi lay down to offer prayers to infant Ram or Ram Lalla before taking part in other rituals and addressing the people present.

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PM Modi had vowed that he would return to Ayodhya only when a Ram temple was built in the holy city

9. Kamala Harris To Be First Woman Vice-President Of US

While taking a jog, US Vice President-elect Kamala Harris received a historic news. She had been elected as the Vice President of the United States. Ms Harris will be the first woman, the first Black American and the first American of Asian descent to serve as vice president, the country’s No. 2 office. She called Joe Biden, the President-elect and said, “We did it.” After long days of counting and many controversies later, US elected a new president in Joe Biden with Kamala Harris as his No. 2.

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Kamala Harris was out jogging when she got the big news

10. Farmers’ Protest

The ongoing farmers’ protest in another defining moment this year. For over two weeks, thousands of farmers have camped at Delhi border points protesting against the new agriculture bills braving water cannons, tear gas and barricades. Several rounds of talks have taken place with the government that has failed to break the deadlock as the farmers say they will settle for nothing less than complete deletion of the laws.

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The protesting farmers had called for a Bharat Bandh as well earlier this month

The year also saw the deaths of some greats including Argentine footballer Diego Maradona, former president Pranab Mukherjee, US judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg, ‘Black Panther’ actor Chadwick Boseman, veteran actor Soumitro Chatterjee among others. US President Donald Trump visited India to a rousing welcome, Britain’s Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle formally quit the royal family and Australia was ravaged by bushrfires – 2020 was a year full shocks and surprises. 

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दिल्ली दंगों की आरोपी इशरत जहां पर जेल में कथित हमला, कोर्ट में अर्जी दी


तिहाड़ जेल (प्रतीकात्मक फोटो).

नई दिल्ली:

दिल्ली दंगों की आरोपी इशरत जहां ने वकील के जरिए कोर्ट में अर्जी दी है. अर्जी में कहा गया है कि तिहाड़ जेल में उसके साथ मारपीट हुई. उसका सिर पर हमला हुआ और उसके कपड़े फाड़ दिए गए. उसने दूसरी महिला कैदियों पर पिटाई का आरोप लगाया है.

यह भी पढ़ें

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इशरत ने अर्जी में कहा है कि हमले की घटना के चलते वह मानसिक तनाव में है और जेल में रह पाना उसके लिए मुश्किल हो रहा है. कोर्ट ने जेल से इस मामले में बुधवार को स्टेटस रिपोर्ट मांगी है.

वहीं तिहाड़ जेल के डीजी संदीप गोयल का कहना है कि इशरत जहां और दूसरी महिला कैदियों में हल्का झगड़ा हुआ था. अब इशरत जहां और उन महिला कैदियों को अलग-अलग बैरेकों में शिफ्ट कर दिया गया ह ताकि आगे कोई विवाद न हो. इशरत पर यूएपीए लगा है.



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आम आदमी पार्टी के पूर्व पार्षद ताहिर हुसैन के खिलाफ ED ने चार्जशीट पेश की


आम आदमी पार्टी के पूर्व पार्षद ताहिर हुसैन (फाइल फोटो).

नई दिल्ली:

Delhi Riots: आम आदमी पार्टी (AAP) के पूर्व पार्षद ताहिर हुसैन (Tahir Hussain) के खिलाफ प्रवर्तन निदेशालय (ED) ने चार्जशीट पेश कर दी है. दिल्ली के कड़कड़डूमा कोर्ट में शनिवार को मनी लॉन्ड्रिंग के आरोप के तहत चार्जशीट पेश की गई. चार्जशीट में आरोपी के तौर पर ताहिर हुसैन और अमित गुप्ता का नाम है. 

यह भी पढ़ें

ईडी ने कहा कि आरोपियों के खिलाफ मनी लॉड्रिंग का केस चलाने के लिए पर्याप्त सबूत हैं.  ईडी इसके बाद सप्लीमेंट्री चार्जशीट भी दायर कर सकती है.  कोर्ट ने ताहिर हुसैन और अमित गुप्ता को 19 अक्टूबर को कोर्ट में पेश होने के आर्डर दिए हैं. फिलहाल ताहिर हुसैन तिहाड़ जेल में बंद है.

प्रवर्तन निदेशालय (ED) ने देश की राजधानी में दिल्ली में इस वर्ष की शुरुआत में हुए दंगों के आरोपी ताहिर हुसैन के 6 ठिकानों पर जून में छापेमारी की थी. ED ने ताहिर के खिलाफ मनी लांड्रिंग का मामला दर्ज किया था. उस पर दंगों में बड़े पैमाने पर फंडिंग का आरोप लगाया गया है. आरोप है कि ताहिर की कई सेल कंपनियां हैं. ED ने इससे करीब डेढ़ महीने पहले PMLA के तहत केस रजिस्टर किया था, आरोप था कि फर्जी कंपनियों का इस्तेमाल कर करीब एक करोड़ 16 लाख रुपये एंटी CAA प्रोटेस्ट और दंगों के लिए कैश में फाइनेंस किया था. दिल्ली के जिन लोकेशंस पर छापेमारी की गई थी, उसमें नार्थ ईस्ट दिल्ली के चार स्‍थान शामिल थे. 



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Congress's Salman Khurshid Named In Delhi Riots Chargesheet


Delhi Riots: Salman Khurshid has also been named by another accused for giving speeches at protest sites.

New Delhi:

Senior Congress leader and former Union Minister Salman Khurshid has been named in the latest chargesheet filed by the Delhi Police in the Delhi riots case for giving ‘provocative speeches’.

The 17,000-page chargesheet, filed on September 17, contains a statement from a witness saying: “Umar Khalid, Salman Khurshid, Nadeem Khan… they all used to give provocative speeches (at anti-CAA/NRC sit-ins in Delhi) and people used to get mobilised.”

The police have not mentioned the exact nature of the alleged provocative speeches. The identity of the witness has been concealed by the police (known as a protective witness). The police claims the witness was part of the core team of conspirators accused of plotting the riots.

The statement has been recorded before a Magistrate (under Section 164 of Code of Criminal Procedure or CrPC), giving it greater legal weight.

Mr Khurshid has also been named by another accused for giving speeches at protest sites in a statement recorded by the police.

“If you do garbage collection, you get a lot of filth. Any garbage can be put to support statements made by individuals. I would be intrigued to know what is a provocative statement,” the 67-year-old senior Congress leader said, responding to the allegations.

“Did I attend a protest to sing a lullaby or support a constitutional, legitimate cause. (This is) an attempt at garbage collection. Sadly, the garbage collectors are not doing a good job. Don’t pick up garbage and ask questions on the quality of garbage.”

“Has (the witness) not lied by saying I made provocative statements. Have the police acted on the statement? If they have not acted on it what is the value of the statement,” Mr Khurshid added.

Mr Khurshid is the highest ranking politician named in police chargesheets so far. The police have come under criticism for using the riots probe to target critics of the government, as well as prominent figures from the anti-CAA/NRC movement.

CPM leader Brinda Karat, lawyer Prashant Bhushan and activist Yogendra Yadav have also been named in the chargesheet giving speeches.

54 were killed in the riots that occurred in February this year. 



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