Delhi High Court Reprimands Police for Failing to Find Who Leaked Asif Tanha’s Statements

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Asif Iqbal Tanha

This vigilance enquiry is even worse than what they do in a petty theft case, observes Justice Mukta Gupta

Team Clarion 

NEW DELHI — The Delhi High Court on Monday reprimanded Delhi Police for failing to properly investigate and identify the source of leak of the alleged confession statement of Asif Iqbal Tanha, a Jamia student and anti-CAA activist who is in jail under UAPA in connection with the Delhi riots conspiracy case.

The court termed the investigation report submitted by the vigilance department of the police “half baked”.

“This vigilance enquiry is even worse than what they do in a petty theft case,” the single bench of Justice Mukta Gupta observed.

The court dismissed the conclusion of the vigilance report which termed the allegations of the leak by Tanha as “unsubstantiated”. It said that information of leakage does not become unsubstantiated merely because police failed to find the source.

The disclosure statements were not documents “lying on the road” for the media to pick up easily, the court said, but case documents handled by senior bureaucrats.

Responding to the Delhi Police counsel’s comment that the leak was undesirable, the court said it was “not just undesirable. It is prejudicial to the accused, the case and the purity of the investigation. And this is in contempt.”

The court added: “Mind you, these are senior IAS officers. Where did you do the enquiry, who did you enquire of? Where were the files sent? Who took them to the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and who brought them back from there?”

The judge warned the police of harsher orders for failing to explain the source of leak and asked the Special Commissioner of Police (Vigilance) to appear before the court on Friday.

Tanha has filed a petition over the leakage of his alleged disclosure statement given to police confessing that he participated in violence. The statements were shown in media channels like Zee News. The petition said the airing of statements given to officials prejudiced Tanha’s right to a free and fair trial.

Tanha’s counsel Advocate Siddharth Aggarwal appealed for an independent enquiry into the matter.

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