Toolkit Case: Activist Disha Ravi Sent to 3-Day Judicial Custody
The 22-year-old climate activist was arrested by the Delhi Police from Bengaluru on Saturday night.
Climate Activist Disha Ravi was sent to three-day judicial custody by Delhi's Patiala House Court on Friday, 19 February, the day her five-day police remand was scheduled to end.
The order has been passed by ACMM Aakash Jain.
The Delhi Police, had sought the three day judicial custody of the 22-year-old activist, with the prosecutor saying, “Disha was evasive during interrogation.”
Ravi’s bail plea is now listed for Saturday, 20 February, before ASJ Dharmender Rana at the Patiala House Court.
What Did the Prosecutor Say?
The prosecutor on Friday, 19 February, told the Court that, “Disha was evasive during investigation and needs to be confronted with the statements of co-accused Nikita and Shantanu.”
The prosecutor also told the Court that notice had been sent to Shantanu Muluk to join investigation by Monday, 22 February.
The prosecutor also claimed that during interrogation Ravi transferred all the blame to Nikita and Shantanu.
What Did Disha’s Counsel Say?
Senior Advocate Siddharth Agarwal, appearing for Disha, objected to the case diary produced by the prosecutor and argued that the same is in not in accordance with Section 167 of CrpC.
Therefore, the senior advocate argued, Disha should be released on this ground alone.
Section 167 spells out the procedure when investigation cannot be completed in twenty four hours.
Disha Ravi was produced in Delhi’s Patiala House Court on Friday, 19 February.
The 22-year-old climate activist was arrested by the Delhi Police from Bengaluru on Saturday, 13 February night, on charges of “sharing and spreading” a toolkit related to the farmers’ protest, that was posted by environmental activist Greta Thunberg.
On Sunday, she was remanded to five-day Delhi Police Special Cell custody. Breaking down in the court, Ravi denied being part of any conspiracy and said, "I was just supporting farmers.” She added that she didn't create the toolkit, and just made two edits to it.
However, the Delhi Police has claimed that, “Ravi was one of the editors of the toolkit Google Doc and a key conspirator in the document’s formulation and dissemination.”
“In this process, they all collaborated with pro-Khalistani Poetic Justice Foundation to spread disaffection against the Indian state. She was the one who shared the ‘toolkit’ document with Greta Thunberg. Later, she asked Greta to remove the main doc after its incriminating details accidentally got into public domain. This is many times more than the two-line edit she claims she did,” the Delhi Police statement further read.
“The main aim of the toolkit was to create misinformation and disaffection against the lawfully enacted government. It sought to artificially amplify fake news, other falsehoods, and sought to precipitate action on 26 January, ie India’s Republic Day [sic.],” the police said in a statement.
The arrest is reportedly based on an FIR filed by the cybercrime unit of the Delhi Police, which was registered against the creators of the ‘toolkit’ on 4 February.
Family Time, Warm Clothes, FIR Access for Disha
On Tuesday, the Patiala House Court had allowed Ravi to access a copy of the FIR as well as the remand application, which was opposed by the Delhi Police.
In a plea moved by Disha’s advocates, the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Pankaj Sharma also allowed the environment activist to get warm clothes, masks, books, etc, and get in touch with her mother and family for 15 minutes every day, reported Bar and Bench.
Ravi was also permitted to speak to her lawyer for 30 minutes on a daily basis.
Delhi HC Directs Police to Ensure No Media Leaks
The Delhi High Court on Friday, 19 February, directed the Delhi Police to ensure they complied with their affidavit that there would be no leaks about their investigation into the toolkit case, and ensure that any press briefings were in accordance with the MHA’s 2010 Advisory on Media Policy of Police.
The high court passed these interim directions on the petition filed by arrested climate activist Disha Ravi regarding leaks by the Delhi Police and coverage of her case by various media houses.
The petition filed by Ravi argues that leakage of her private WhatsApp chats, as well as alleged admissions and disclosures by her during her time in police custody, and the subsequent biased media reportage about her is:
“false, malicious and severely compromises the Petitioner’s right to privacy, right to reputation, and right to a fair trial.”
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