Police takes U-turn, opposes Kanhaiya's bail plea in HC

Last Updated 23 February 2016, 13:07 IST

In a complete U-turn, police today opposed in the Delhi High Court the bail plea of JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar, arrested in a sedition case, in which the court has asked for a status report by tomorrow.

When the matter came up for hearing as directed by the Supreme Court last week, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta, appearing for the police, told Justice Pratibha Rani that they were opposing the bail plea of Kanhaiya, who was arrested 11 days ago.

Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi, who had last week said that police would not object if Kanhaiya applied for bail, today justified the change in their stand saying that the circumstances have changed.

"The circumstances when I had said so, those have totally changed," he said.

Bassi said Kanhaiya showed repentance on his part when he issued an appeal on the day he was produced before a court but later denied having issued any such appeal and made certain allegations which were "false".

"We have reasonable apprehension that if he (Kanhaiya) comes out on bail, he is bound to impact the investigation and influence witnesses. He is also likely to indulge in activities that are violative of penal laws.

"That is why we have opposed grant of bail to Kanhaiya and shall oppose it further too," Bassi added.

As soon as the hearing commenced at 10.30 AM, Justice Rani said, "Are you filing a status report? If you were aware, you should have done it."

The bench said, "What about the status report? If you do not have the status report, I will not proceed. Ask your investigating officer to file the report."

ASG Mehta, however, told the bench that they will file the status report in a sealed cover as "this is a pre-charge sheet bail and the status report cannot be shown to the accused."

To this, the bench observed, "I do not need it in a sealed cover. You will have to file it. Issue notice. File the status report by tomorrow."

The bench, however, clarified that the status report will be limited to the extent of bail only.

As the hearing commenced, senior standing counsel of Delhi government advocate Rahul Mehra opposed the appearance of ASGs Mehta and Sanjay Jain and lawyer Anil Soni, saying before appearing in the matter they should show notification in this regard.

"If they don't have the same (notification), they cannot stand on their legs before this court," Mehra told the bench.

Responding to this, Jain said, "Once ASGs are appearing in this matter, you have no business to interfere in it."

At this stage, the bench intervened and said, "Let's not fight over this issue. I will proceed only if status report is filed."

Mehra said, "they have crossed the 'laxman rekha' and I will not allow this unless the court passes an order. I am appointed by the full court reference of this court."

He also contended that the status report in this matter has to be filed by the Police Commissioner who has to clarify his stand as he had earlier said the police will not oppose Kanhaiya's bail plea.

Senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Rebecca John and lawyers Vrinda Grover and Sushil Bajaj were also present in the court to represent Kanhaiya in the hearing.

The hearing, which lasted 10 minutes, witnessed unprecedented security arrangement in the high court premises in wake of the violence at the Patiala House Court on February 15 and 17 when unruly lawyers had assaulted Kanhaiya, scribes and litigants during the hearing in the case.

Kanhaiya had moved bail plea in the high court following the direction of the Supreme Court which had refused to hear it saying it will set a "dangerous precedent".

In his petition, Kanhaiya has claimed he was 'falsely implicated' and he had not raised any anti-national slogan.

The JNUSU leader claimed that he was wrongly arrested on the basis of an FIR which was devoid of evidence to book him under such a serious charge.

Kanhaiya was arrested on February 12 and on February 17, he was remanded to judicial custody till March 2, amid violence at Patiala House court complex.

In the plea, he has also claimed that no case is made out against him as there was no evidence as he had never raised any anti-national slogan during the event organised in the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on February 9.

Kanhaiya had approached the SC directly for bail claiming threat to his life in Tihar Jail.

(Published 23 February 2016, 10:49 IST)

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