Had No Work in Hathras: Allahabad HC Rejects Bail Plea of Journo Siddique Kappan
Justice Krishnan Pahal dismissed his plea challenging a Sessions Court order that denied him bail last year.
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The Allahabad High Court on Thursday, 4 August, rejected the bail plea moved by Kerala-based journalist Siddique Kappan, who has been charged with offences under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in an alleged conspiracy case pertaining to the Hathras gang rape.
A single-judge bench of Justice Krishnan Pahal dismissed his plea challenging a Sessions Court order that denied him bail last year.
"It has come up in the investigation that the applicant had no work at Hathras," the bench said, NDTV reported.
The court added, "A perusal of the charge-sheet and documents adduced, prima facie reveal that the applicant has committed the offence."
A detailed HC order is yet to be uploaded.
Kappan moved the high court after a Mathura court on 6 July 2021 rejected his bail petition.
While denying him bail, Additional Sessions Judge Anil Kumar Pandey had said that the investigation into the case revealed implicating evidence against Kappan, which suggested that the journalist had received sponsorship from foreign entities for the purpose of "blemishing the integrity of the country," The Hindu reported.
In June of that year, the journalist moved a bail application before the Mathura District Court, emphasising that there was nothing connecting him to the alleged offences other than the allegations made against him.
In October 2020, Kappan was arrested, along with three others, by the Uttar Pradesh Police while he was on the way to Hathras to cover the gang rape and murder of a 19-year-old Dalit girl.
When UP Police intercepted a car that had Kappan, Masood, Atiq-ur-Rehman, and their driver Alam and arrested them, they were not charged with UAPA and sedition. The men had been charged under a different FIR and the allegation levelled against them was that their entry into west UP's Hathras, constituted an "apprehension of breach of peace."
After the men were sent to jail, a second FIR was registered with sections of UAPA and sedition. The police said that on the basis of a primary investigation in the first FIR, there was a criminal conspiracy being hatched to destabilise peace and break law and order in Hathras.
The police claimed that Kappan was going to Hathras with a "very determined design to create caste divide and disturb the law and order situation" and that he had links with the Popular Front of India (PFI).
On 15 June 2021, a Mathura court dropped proceedings against Kappan and three other co-accused in the first FIR that had been registered against them on 5 October, which had contained the allegation of "apprehension of breach of peace."
The charges of the second FIR, which had booked the journalist under UAPA and sedition, remained in place.
(With inputs from Bar & Bench, The Hindu.)
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