Bengaluru, Delhi Police Versions Don’t Match on Disha Ravi Arrest
Bengaluru police say that “just a judicial officer was present during the time of arrest”.
A day after Delhi Police arrested 21-year-old Disha Ravi on the charge of sedition for having allegedly edited a toolkit which Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg had shared on Twitter, Bengaluru Police have come up with a timeline of events which do not seem to match the former’s version.
While Delhi Police on 15 February, in a press conference, addressed by Prem Nath, Joint Commissioner, Cyber Cell, told media personnel that Ravi was arrested in the presence of “her mother, a female officer and SHO of local police station”, Bengaluru Police claimed that “only a judicial officer” was informed of the arrest.
Speaking to The Quint, a senior Karnataka police officer posted in Bengaluru explained,
“A judicial officer was informed of Delhi Police’s arrival in Bangalore. Other than this officer, local police officials were not involved in the arrest.”
No Woman Officer From Bengaluru Force
Bengaluru Police also confirmed that no woman police officer from their force was present when the arrest took place. Disha Ravi’s mother, too, wasn’t able to confirm whether a female police officer was present when the arrest took place.
However, Delhi Police claimed that a woman officer was present when the arrest took place.
“The family was informed on 13 February that the Delhi police would take Disha to Delhi and that she will be let off in three days. Her lawyers were also not present when the arrest took place,” a friend of the family confirmed.
The Bengaluru police officer confirmed that details of the arrest was not revealed to them. “A judicial officer was present. That was the extent of our cooperation,” the officer said.
Activists Lodge Complaint on Delhi Police in Bengaluru
On Monday, a memorandum singed by 70 prominent Bengaluru-based activists was submitted to the city Commissioner of Police. The petition claimed that Ravi’s “arrest was carried out arbitrarily and in complete violation of procedures established both in constitutional and criminal law”.
The memorandum further stated, “All constitutional protections enjoyed by the arrestee were brazenly denied and she was taken to Delhi in a wholly unlawful way”.
The activists have accused the Bengaluru Police of not ensuring that “she was allowed to contact her legal counsel before being transported to Delhi”. The statement further stated that Ravi should have been produced before a local magistrate. This procedural lapse is violative of Article 22 of the Constitution and guidelines of the Ministry of Home Affairs dated 16 May 2012, the statement stressed.
Severe Procedural Flaws, Say Legal Experts
The memorandum to the Commissioner of Bengaluru Police stated that nine procedures of arrest and remand were not followed by the Delhi Police.
The memorandum notes that the arresting officer should have obtained a copy of the permission or sanction from a higher official. This copy was not produced before Ravi’s family. Further, if the Station House Officer were present during the arrest, such an entry should have been made at the local police station. Bengaluru Police have not produced this record.
A copy of the FIR containing details of the charges were also not provided to Ravi or her legal counsel, the memorandum accused. A copy of the arrest and search warrant was also not issued to Ravi, the legal experts who drafted the memorandum claimed. Also, on record there was no public witness to the arrest.
The memorandum also accused the Delhi Police of not making the arrest in the presence of a woman police officer. A copy of the daily diary entry where the arrest should have been recorded is also missing in the case, experts noted.
Remand copy and arrest order of the judicial magistrate are also missing from Delhi Police’s records or these were not provided to Ravi’s counsel, the experts accused.
The Bengaluru Police have accepted the memorandum.
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