Former JNU student Umar Khalid, arrested in connection to his alleged role in the conspiracy leading to communal riots in north-east Delhi, told a Delhi court on Monday that a “vicious media campaign” against him is affecting his right to free and fair trial, while stating that even though a supplementary charge sheet filed against him was all over the media, the police are yet to supply a copy of the same to his lawyer.
Khalid, who was produced from the Tihar jail complex through video conferencing, told chief metropolitan magistrate Dinesh Kumar that the supplementary charge sheet in the riots filed by the police on December 26 is all over the news reports and sought directions to the investigating officer to find out as to how the media got the charge sheet even before an accused named in it. “An obvious pattern of selected disclosures statements being leaked” is affecting his right to free trial, he said.
Contradicting news reports that quoted the supplementary charge sheet, Khalid also told the court that he had not signed any statements admitting his role in the riots.
Khalid’s counsel also said that the media is not sticking to its code of ethics and has been missing an important word “alleged” in the news reports. The court after hearing brief arguments posted the matter for further hearing on Tuesday.
According to the charge sheet, Khalid has been arrested for fuelling riots at the Khajuri Khas area in February last year. Suspended AAP councilor Tahir Hussain and United Against Hate (UAH), an NGO, leader Khalid Saifi are also co-accused in this case.
Hearing pleas by several others accused in riots cases, CMM Dinesh Kumar on December 24, had directed the police to supply the copy of the charge sheet to the accused before the next date of hearing. The magistrate is slated to hear the case on January 7.
“It has been noticed that the IOs of various cases are not supplying the copies to the accused persons despite directions of the court within time which is resulting in delay in committal of various cases to the sessions court for further proceedings in the matter. Therefore, copy of this order be sent to DCP, north-east, to issue a direction to IOs in all the police stations to supply the copy of charge sheet to the accused persons well within time before next date of hearing,” Kumar said in the order on December 24.
He had also sought a report as to why the charge sheet was not supplied on time.