A sessions court in Delhi on Friday, 8 April, turned down the bail plea of United Against Hate founder Khalid Saifi in the UAPA case brought by the Delhi Police over the alleged larger conspiracy behind the northeast Delhi riots of 2020.
Rejecting Saifi's bail application, Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat said: "I am of the opinion that allegations against the accused Khalid Saifi are prima facie true."
As a result, the embargo against grant of bail in Section 43D(5) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act would apply.
Saifi, along with other accused such as Umar Khalid, Tahir Hussain, Asif Iqbal Tanha, Natasha Narwal, Gulfisha Fatima, are alleged to have planned to cause the riots in February 2020 in which 53 people were killed, thereby committing terror offences.
Saifi had been represented by senior advocate Rebecca John, who argued that he had been falsely implicated in the case and that there was no evidence to link the activist with the communal riots of 2020.
She had specifically argued that apart from an unsubstantiated bald statement made in the supplementary charge sheet, there was no evidence to show that Khalid Saifi had met former JNU student Khalid, who is alleged to be the main conspirator by the Delhi Police, and planned the violence in December 2019, and that Khalid gave him any direction to raise a protest site at Khureji.
Opposing John's arguments, Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad had contended that there was sufficient material on record to establish that the accusation against Khalid Saifi is prima facie true and hence the bail application had to be dismissed because of Section 43D(5) of the UAPA.
Prasad reiterated the Delhi Police's allegations that the protests in Delhi against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) had not really been about the CAA or NRC, and instead had been meant to embarrass the government and to highlight such embarrassment in the international media, especially during the time US president Donald Trump was going to visit.
After detailed arguments, the court reserved its order on 16 February. The order was supposed to be pronounced on 15 March, but was deferred multiple times.
On 14 March, judge Rawat granted bail to former councillor Ishrat Jahan, one of the other accused in the case. However, in subsequent orders, he has denied bail to multiple accused including Umar Khalid, Gulfisha Fatima and Tasleem Ahmed.
(With inputs from IANS)