Kappan is now allowed to meet his lawyer in jail to obtain his signatures for taking recourse in courts.
NEW DELHI — The Uttar Pradesh Government on Friday alleged that incarcerated Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan showed an old ID card from a Kerala-based defunct newspaper to pose as a journalist and gain entry to a village in Hathras district of the state to report about a gangrape.
In an affidavit filed in Supreme Court, the state government opposed the habeas corpus petition filed by the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ), arguing that he was linked to the New Delhi-headquartered Popular Front of India.
“The person in custody namely Siddique Kappan is the Office Secretary of Popular Front of India (PFI) using a journalist cover by showing the identity card of a Kerala-based newspaper named as ‘Tejas’, which was closed in 2018,” read the affidavit.
The affidavit said that Kappan and three others accompanying him were on way to Hathras with a “determined design to create a caste divide” and “disturb the law and order situation.” The UP government had claimed that it had recovered “incriminating material” from their possession.
Kappan and his activist friends were detained near Mathura town in Uttar Pradesh in early October. The four were on their way to Hathras to meet the family of a 19-year-old girl whose alleged gangrape and subsequent death triggered a nationwide outrage.
The journalist’s family and lawyer had alleged that they were not being allowed to meet or speak with him telephonically.
However, the Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta said the government had no objection to Kappan meeting his lawyer inside the jail.
In response the bench ordered: “List after one week. In the meantime, the accused person’s signature can be obtained in jail for taking recourse in courts,” the bench said.
This means his lawyer Kapil Sibbal is allowed to visit him in jail to meet and gt his signatures on Vakalatnama to approach the Allahabad High Court as per the Supreme Court order.
During the hearing on Friday Chief Justice SA Bobde who heads the bench expressed his disdain over ‘incorrect reporting’ of an earlier hearing of Kappan’s case in the media.
The apex court had asked Kappan’s lawyer Kapil Sibal to approach Allahabad High Court for bail. Kappan works as a freelance reporter for Malayalam news website Azhimukham and is secretary of the KUWJ unit in Delhi.
Following the bail granted to TV anchor Arnab Goswami, Kappan’s case has come under media spotlight with journalists and activists saying that the scribe now in judicial custody also deserves to be freed.