Delhi Riots Advocate Pracha Moves Court, Responds to Allegations
The allegation against Mehmood Pracha is that he created a fabricated complaint for a victim of the Delhi violence.
Advocate Mehmood Pracha, one of the lawyers representing several victims and accused in the Delhi riots cases, including UAPA accused Gulfisha Fatima, moved Patiala House Court after his office was raided by Delhi Police special cell for 15-hours straight on 24 and 25 December.
He moved the court to ask for a copy of the videography of the entire search conducted by Delhi Police special cell, that he told the court he was entitled to. Duty Magistrate Anshul Singhal asked Delhi Police to file its response to the plea by December 27. In the copy of the order, accessed by The Quint, Pracha also told the court that he was threatened by the investigating officer and one Mr Rajiv that they will file a false case against him. “Accordingly, the applicant (Pracha) has filed an application for continuous monitoring of the case,” the order reads.
The Allegations Against Mehmood Pracha, and His Response
In a press note issued by Deputy Commissioner of Police from Delhi Police Special Cell Manishi Chandra, details of the searches conducted at advocate Mehmood Pracha’s office have been revealed. While there are two allegations raised in the release under FIR 212/2020 dated 22 August, one is against Pracha and one is against advocate Javed Ali. The one against Pracha is regarding him creating a concocted/fabricated complaint for a victim of the northeast Delhi riots, the one against Ali is about him using forged notary stamps.
The allegation against Pracha is regarding a victim of the northeast Delhi riots called Irshad Ali, who was allegedly made to depose falsely in front of the court. “These findings were supported by the witnesses of this case who had recorded their testimonies under Section 164 of CrPC before the concerned Hon’ble Courts,” the report read.
Ali, whose shop was allegedly burnt and looted during the northeast Delhi riots, told the court that he could not identify the accused named in his complaint as he did not know who the people were. This happened in August 2020, after which the additional sessions judge Vinod Yadav directed the police to investigate the allegations, pass appropriate directions and requested the Delhi Commissioner of Police look into the matter.
In the police report from August 2020, they had explained the matter to the judge. The report stated, "During the investigation, he (Ali) was enquired about the names of Deepak, Navneet and Mintu, as mentioned in his complaint. He said that he knows them by their names and does not know anything about them personally. He also stated that he does not identify the accused persons in the video."
PTI reported how the police report included Ali’s brother, Dilshad statement as well. Dilshad had said they both were home when they got the call about the shop being looted and hence had not seen anyone looting their shop, contrary to the complaint submitted in his brother’s name.
Responding to the allegations, Pracha told The Quint he had not concocted any statement. “The statement they are saying has been concocted has the sign of the complainant. The complainant is himself not denying that it is his signature. I have nothing against the complainant as I understand the pressure he might be under. Delhi Police is threatening victims to take their complaints back, that is the truth, nothing else. Their basic motive was them taking my hard disk and getting information on other cases.”
‘Concern About Breaching Attorney-Client Privilege’
During the raid Pracha’s colleague had told The Quint that them seizing material from Pracha’s laptops was against basic ethics for a practising lawyer, “We told them we can not let them take our computers as this would be against client-attorney privilege. We said this was our right and we are also bound by ethics. The police then used their pen drives, plugged it to three computers in the office and took material. We have no idea what they took from us. They are not letting us touch anything either.”
A day later and Pracha says he does not know what the police has taken and what they have not. “I do not know what information they have got or not. They had two hackers with them and broke my main computer. We will have to call in our experts and see what they have taken and what they have not.”
“My clients are calling me and asking if my data is safe or not, they will also make complaints. I am also appearing for senior officers, some matrimonial issues etc. These are highly sensitive cases,” he said adding that he has been exposed to breaching confidentiality with his clients due to this.
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