High Court raps police over Zee News report on Delhi carnage

Hearing Asif Iqbal Tanha’s plea about ‘media trial’ and leaks, the court calls inquiry worse than a petty theft case.

ByNL Team
High Court raps police over Zee News report on Delhi carnage
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The Delhi High Court on Monday criticised the Delhi police during a hearing on Jamia Millia Islamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha’s application regarding his “media trial”. Tanha has been arrested in connection with the 2020 Delhi carnage.

The court told the police “this vigilance inquiry is even worse than what they do in a petty theft case,” reported LiveLaw.

Citing a report by Zee News aired on August 18, 2020, advocate Siddharth Agarwal, appearing for Tanha, said that the report claims it is based on a disclosure statement stating that Tanha set fire to buses during the carnage. Agarwal said if the Delhi police is so particular about keeping its investigation secret, it would have made sure no person has access to it.

“These are not documents lying on the road. And amazingly, if these were lying on the road, the journalist is confident that these are those very original copies,” said the Delhi High Court, urging the police’s vigilance inquiry to find the source of the leak.

Agarwal said, “Even a court of law will not be relying on this document but it has been put out there even before the first ball is played in a court of law.”

Tanha was arrested in connection with the communal violence that broke out in the capital in February last year. He was booked under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

The court has previously directed Zee News to disclose its source for the story on Tanha’s alleged confession. The court has also told the channel that it wasn’t a “prosecution agency.”

Agarwal further said his first request was for the story to be taken down and second for an inquiry into why this information was leaked.

The judge pulled up the Delhi police for the lack of information in the vigilance file. “You had four months and yet the report you have filed would has not even taken 10 minutes,” the court said. “If the vigilance inquiry is unable to find out what happened, you know harsher orders will be passed. You will have to find out where the leakage took place.”

The case was adjourned until Friday, March 5, 2021, when special commissioner of police, vigilance, has been asked to be present.

Also Read :
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Zee News and OpIndia violated programme code: Jamia accused in Delhi riots tells Delhi High Court
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