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Unable to establish who leaked Asif Iqbal Tanha chargesheet details, confession to media: Delhi Police tells HC

Asif Iqbal Tanha was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in May last year and was enlarged on bail by the Delhi High Court in June, 2021.

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The Delhi Police informed the Delhi High Court that a bunch of journalists have been investigated in relation to the leakage of the contents of the supplementary charge-sheet and the alleged confessional statement made by Asif Iqbal Tanha, accused of the North-East Delhi riots conspiracy.

However, nothing substantial was revealed during the said investigation as the journalists refused to disclose the details of their sources from where they had accessed the investigation-related documents, the Bench headed by Justice Mukta Gupta was told.

The Delhi Police filed an enquiry report in pursuance to the order passed by the Court on March 5, 2021, directing the Commissioner of Police to ascertain as to who is responsible for the contents of the supplementary charge-sheet being leaked.

The Delhi Police stated that a detailed enquiry was conducted subsequently, but the enquiry could not establish the officers or office from where the details of investigation were shared with the media.

Further, the Delhi Police stated that directions have been issued to ensure that such issues are not repeated in future; and further to ensure that case files must be handled with utmost alacrity, as also charge sheets must be filed by strictly following the due process of law.

The matter has been deferred till August 11, 2021.

The Court, on last date of hearing, granted additional two weeks’ time to the Delhi Police to file its enquiry report after Mr. Rajat Nair, Special Public Prosecutor appearing on behalf of the State, submitted that a comprehensive enquiry over the alleged leak of the contents of the charge-sheet is underway.

The Court reminded him that vigilance enquiry report filed by the Delhi Police earlier, in relation to the leakage of a disclosure statement made by Tanha, was a ‘useless piece of paper’ and had nothing in it.

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At the outset, a petition was filed by the the Jamia Millia Islamia student, Asif Iqbal Tanha, who was accused of the North-East Delhi riots conspiracy, through Advocate Sowjanya Shankar. He has contended that various news and electronic media houses reports were alleging that he has confessed to organizing and inciting communal riots that occurred in North-East Delhi in February 2020. In this light, he sought directions to various media houses and social media platforms to take down the confidential information and frame guidelines with regards to media reporting in the criminal investigation.

He was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), in May last year and was enlarged on bail by the Delhi High Court in June, 2021.

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