New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday granted bail to Faizan Khan, the man who supplied SIM card to Delhi riots accused and Jamia scholar Asif Iqbal Tanha, after observing that invocation of UAPA against him was based on nothing but “bald statements”.
“The material on record and the investigating agency’s status report do not disclose the commission of the offences under the UAPA, 1967, except the bald statements of the witnesses,” a single judge bench of the high court comprising Justice Suresh Kumar Kait noted while granting bail to Khan.
The bench also said that there is no proof on record such as CCTV footage, video clip or chat record of the petitioner with any of the group, except the allegation that he provided SIM card on a fake ID in December 2019 and took a small amount of Rs 200 for the same.
“It is not the case of the prosecution that he provided many SIM cards and continued to do the same. It is also not the case of the prosecution that he was part of any chat group or part of any group which conspired to commit offence as alleged in the present case,” the bench said.
The court, while granting bail to the petitioner, directed him to submit a personal bail bond of Rs 25,000 with one surety of the like amount. “I am of the view that the petitioner deserves bail,” the bench said.
The court noted that for invoking the UAPA against the petitioner, it is the duty of the investigating agency to demonstrate that the petitioner had “actual knowledge” that the said SIM card would be used for organising protests.
“It was imperative for the investigating agency to demonstrate that the petitioner had ‘active knowledge’ about the utilisation of the said SIM card. It is not alleged that the petitioner was party to any such conspiracy to organise protests,” the bench said.
The court also observed that the petitioner voluntarily appeared before the agency for questioning and did not evade or flee between the period of registration of the FIR (March 6) and the date of his arrest (July 29).
“This is material fact shows that the petitioner has fully cooperated with the probe and had made himself available as and when directed by the investigating agency,” the bench noted.
The court also directed that the petitioner shall not directly or indirectly influence any witness or tamper with the evidence.
“The trial court shall not get influenced by the observation made by this court while passing the order in the present petition,” it said.
Khan was arrested by the Delhi Police on July 29 on charges of being part of the conspiracy hatched by Umar Khalid and his associates to organise the riots in north-east Delhi during the visit of US President Donald Trump in February 2020.
Khan had allegedly supplied and activated a SIM card registered fraudulently in the name of one Abdul Jabbar, but actually used by the Jamia Coordination Committee (JCC) headed by Jamia student Safoora Zargar.