Delhi Riots: High Court Grants Bail to SIM Card Seller Held Under UAPA

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Faizan Khan. — Photo credit: Huffpost.in

After Safoora Zargar, only second accused implicated in Delhi riots and booked under stringent law to get relief

Clarion India 

NEW DELHI — The Delhi High court on Friday granted bail to a mobile SIM card seller who was held under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in connection with the February Delhi riots.

According to a report in HuffPost India, the court of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait passed an order saying that the case against Faizan Khan under UAPA was built on “bald statements,” did not appear to be prima facie true, and did not meet the stringent conditions of denying bail.

 “I am of the view that the petitioner deserves bail,” the order says.

The Delhi Police had booked Khan for terrorism and murder in the Delhi riots conspiracy case vide FIR 59 for having sold a SIM on a fake ID in December to a Jamia Millia Islamia University student accused of being part of the so-called conspiracy during anti-CAA protests that, according to the Delhi Police, led to riots in late February in which 53 people were killed.

But HuffPost India last month reported that the family and friends of Khan contended that he did not even know what CAA meant and he had never visited a protest site.

The police, however, slapped terror charges against him despite acknowledging that Khan sold the SIM card on a fake ID out of greed.

Khan, who was represented by Salman Khurshid and Azra Rehman, is the second UAPA accused to be granted bail in FIR 59 after the police invoked the crimes of terrorism under the UAPA and murder under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Earlier, 28-year-old Jamia student Safoora Zargar, who was pregnant when she was incarcerated in April, was granted bail on humanitarian grounds in June.

“In the charge-sheet for FIR 59, the Delhi Police say that Asif Iqbal Tanha, a 24-year-old student of Jamia Millia Islamia University, asked Khan for the SIM in December, and this SIM was picked up by an unidentified by man in January, and then handed to Zargar by another unidentified man at a meeting of the Jamia Coordination Committee (JCC)–a group that the Delhi Police say was instrumental in orchestrating the riots in February,” the report said.

Justice Kait said Khan was not accused of engaging in any form of terror funding or having organised anti-CAA protests.

“It was imperative for the investigation agency to demonstrate that the petitioner had ‘active knowledge’ about the utilisation of the said SIM card. It is not alleged that the petitioner was party to any such conspiracy to organise protests,” Justice Kait wrote.

“There is no proof on record such as CCTV footage, video or chats of petitioner with any of the group except the allegation that he provided SIM on fake ID in December 2019 and had taken a small amount of Rs. 200 for the same. It is not the case of the prosecution that he provided many SIMs and continued to do the same. It is also not the case of prosecution that he was part of any chat-group or part of any group who conspired to commit offence as alleged in the present case,” he adds.

While granting bail to Khan, the court underlined that he had cooperated fully with the police.

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