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NEW DELHI: Saying she wasn’t a habitual offender or a previous convict, a Delhi court on Tuesday granted bail to Pinjra Tod activist Devangana Kalita in a case related to violence during the anti-CAA protest at Daryaganj.
Kalita was produced before duty judge Abhinav Pandey inside Tihar jail complex on expiry of three days of police custody, which was given on Saturday.
She has two other cases – an unlawful protest case and a rioting case in northeast Delhi – against her. While Kalita was granted bail in the unlawful protest case, the police arrested her in the rioting case. Her counsels Adit S Pujari and Tusharika Mattoo sought bail submitting that Kalita was ready to cooperate in the investigation and willing to obey bail conditions whatsoever imposed.
It came on record that Kalita had participated in the protest on the basis of social media posts against the NRC bill. It was argued that there was no direct evidence attributable so as to prosecute her under Sections 325 (punishment for voluntarily causing grievous hurt) and 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) of IPC.
The investigation carried out on the basis of details provided in the medico-legal case (MLC) reports of the injured persons and related call data records allegedly showed Kalita at the place of incident. The court, however, pointed out that the CCTV footage, reportedly, did not specifically show Kalita’s involvement in any violent activity. “Disclosure statement made before the police and the injuries on person of the accused reflected in the MLC that got conducted by the accused on her own accord is not sufficient to make a strong prima facie case against the accused so as to deny bail,” it said.
The police, according to the court, had also not indicated any incriminating material being recovered from Kalita’s laptop or phone seized during investigation. For the court to infer if she had incited a mob or participated in it, or, for that matter, intended to participate in a peaceful protest that later turned violent, was a matter of trial. “Accused is not a habitual offender or a previous convict and the other criminal proceedings pending against her relate to the same or similar incidents. Accordingly, this court is of the opinion that the accused can be released on bail subject to stringent conditions,” the court held.
Kalita was directed not to get involved in a similar activity, deposit her passport with the court concerned till further orders besides being asked to furnish Rs 30,000 personal bond with two sureties and cooperate with the police. She was sent to judicial custody till June 16 until the bail conditions were complied with.