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Delhi HC lists bail plea of Khalid Saifi before the special bench

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The Delhi High court on Monday transferred the bail plea of Khalid Saifi, an accused in a larger conspiracy case of North East Delhi riots, before the special bench hearing the connected bail matters.

The Division Bench of Justice Mukta Gupta and Justice Anish Dayal at the request of the petitioner’s counsel, listed the matter before the special bench of justices Sidharth Mridul and Rajanish Bhatnagar for July 22, 2022.

Advocate Rajat Kumar, counsel for the petitioner, submitted that it is an appeal against the trial court order in a riot-related matter and other connected matters are pending before the special bench.

So this matter should be listed before the same bench. Special public prosecutor Amit Prasad did not oppose the request. The High Court on May 9, 2022, had issued notice to the Government of NCT Delhi on an appeal of Khalid Saifi, an accused in a larger conspiracy connected with the northeast Delhi violence challenging the trial court order refused bail to him.

Saifi was booked under UAPA by the Delhi Police. It was alleged that Khalid Saifi was one of the main organizers of the Khureji Protest site which was near Badi Masjid in the Khureji area. The Division Bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar on May 9, 2022, issued notice to the Government of NCT Delhi and listed the matter for July 11, 2022.

Then the bench was changed and the matter had been listed before another bench. Appearing for Khalid Saifi, Senior Advocate Rebecca John submitted, “my case is different from other appeals pending before this court in the related case. Let me be different even if that has to be delayed. Let those be over. Let me show how my case is different”.

Earlier Trial Court’s Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat dismissed the bail plea saying, “I am of the opinion that allegations against the accused Khalid Saifi are prima facie true.”

Senior Advocate Rebecca John, counsel for the accused had argued that the accused Khalid Saifi has been falsely implicated in this case and the entire case of the prosecution is unsubstantiated without any evidence to link with the communal riots of 2020.

It was also argued that the accused is a businessman by profession and runs a travel agency. He is also a social activist. There is no evidence on record to suggest that the accused gave any provocative speech so as to instigate anyone to commit any act of violence.

Senior Advocate had argued that the reliance of the prosecution on a WhatsApp group called DPSG would show the peripheral participation of the accused in the said group.

Nothing in the group or in the accused’s participation in the group is suggestive of any criminal conspiracy. Counsel for the accused further argued that as per the prosecution, funding was provided to him between December 2019 and 26 February 2020 for orchestrating riots in Delhi.

It was argued that the accused was receiving money from Naseef Abdul Kareem in his NGO bank account not just in 2020 but since 2018. The statement of Abdul Majid, a Trusty of the New Education Welfare Organisation, NGO, is inherently false.

On the other hand, opposing the bail the Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) Amit Prasad had argued that there is sufficient material on record to establish that the accusation against the accused Khalid Saifi is prima facie true and hence the bail application may be dismissed.

SPP Amit Prasad had submitted that Khalid Saifi was a member of Whatsapp group DPSG, CAB Team and United Against Hate (UAH) Okhla. Khalid Saifi also attended a meeting at 6/6 Jangpura, Bhogal, Delhi on 8 December 2019 attended by Umar Khalid, Sharjeel Imam, Meeran Haider and others.

He also attended the meeting on 26 December 2019 at Indian Social Institute, Lodhi Colony, Delhi after which DPSG was created on 28 December 2019.

According to the statement of Saturn, on January 8, 2020, a meeting between Umar Khalid, Tahir Hussain, and Khalid Saifi took place at the PFI office, Shaheen Bagh, Delhi.

In northeast Delhi, large-scale violence broke out in February 2020. In this violence, 53 people died and hundreds were injured according to the police.

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