Delhi Police in Dock: Court Picks Holes in Probe, Extends Asif Iqbal’s Judicial Custody

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Asif Iqbal Tanha, student activist of Jamia Millia Islamia, was arrested on May 17 in the connection with northeast Delhi riots.

Mohd Aasif | Clarion India

NEW DELHI – Judicial custody of Asif Iqbal Tanha, a student activist of Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) who was arrested by Delhi Police, has been extended to June 26 on Wednesday. A special cell of the police had produced him before Judge Dharmendra Rana at his residence with a plea for his police custody.

After his arrest on May 17 in the connection with northeast Delhi riots, Asif was sent to judicial custody by the court for a month. But within a week the investigation officer demanded police custody for uninterrupted investigation. However, the court extended his judicial custody by a month.

The judge cast doubts over the objectivity of the investigation echoing a common refrain among the activists. “Perusal of the case diary reveals a disturbing fact. The investigation seems to be targeted only towards one end,” the court order reads.

Prashant Bhushan, an eminent lawyer and activist, has accused the police of not being fair in the investigation. “It is not an investigation of a conspiracy but a conspiracy of investigation,” he said while addressing an online press conference.

Earlier, the political activists have been accusing police administration of working against only one community following a political script. The activists have questioned the police over letting off Ragini Tiwari and Kapil Mishra, who were seen in videos openly instigating people to riot.

Expressing apprehensions over miscarriage of justice, the court pointed out the failure of an investigation officers (IO) to explain what investigation has been carried regarding the involvement of a rival faction. “Upon enquiry from inspector Lokesh and Anil have failed to point out what investigation has been carried out so far regarding the involvement of the rival faction,” the court order said.

Umar Khalid, in an online press conference, noted that the police are damaging its own reputation under political pressure. Elaborating on his point, he said, “Delhi Police is re-arresting the students on different charges after they get bail.”

Earlier this year, Delhi High Court Judge S Murlidhar had questioned the Delhi Police for not arresting Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur and Pravesh Verma for their hate speeches.

The judge also requested DCP to monitor the investigation. “In view of the same condition, the DCP is requested to monitor the investigation and ensure fair investigation,” reads court order.

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