Toolkit Case: Delhi Court Sends Disha Ravi to 1-Day Police Remand
Ravi’s three-day judicial custody, ordered by Delhi’s Patiala House Court on Friday, is scheduled to end today.
A Delhi court on Monday, 22 February, while hearing the Delhi Police’s application regarding arrested 22-year-old climate activist Disha Ravi, sent her to one-day police remand.
On Friday, 19 February, as her five-day police remand was scheduled to end, Delhi’s Patiala House Court had sent Ravi to three-day judicial custody. The Delhi Police had sought the three-day judicial custody of the activist, with the prosecutor saying, “Disha was evasive during interrogation.”
This three-day judicial custody was scheduled to end on Monday and the court was hearing the Delhi Police’s application for a further five days of remand.
Meanwhile, a Sessions Court is set to pronounce orders on Ravi’s bail application on Tuesday.
The court, on Saturday, had heard the arguments of both the prosecution and defence in the matter of Ravi’s bail plea, and had reserved the matter for 23 February.
What Happened in Court on Monday?
“We have to confront Disha with the statements of other accused Nikita and Shantanu,” the prosecutor Irfan Ahmed, appearing on behalf of the Delhi Police argued on Monday.
'It's a transnational and complex crime', the prosecutor also added.
Prosecutor Irfan Ahmad also informed the court that the police are also trying to trace other participants of the Zoom call, such as MO Dhaliwal, Anita Lal, Nikita Jacob, and Shantanu Muluk.
“We have no other option but to confront Disha with the statements of Nikita and Shantanu. However, we can't arrest Nikita and Shantanu till their protection continues,” he added.
“Cyber experts are required to investigate the evidence in this case. We can't close all evidence until we confront Disha,” the prosecutor said in court.
Meanwhile, advocate Siddharth Agarwal, appearing on behalf of Ravi, argued that she did not have to be in custody till she is confronted with the statements of other accused. “When the police decides to confront her with those statements, they can move an application in the court asking for the same,” he said.
When Nikita and Shantanu have no restrain, why should Disha be kept in custody to answer the same questions?,” he argued.
Agarwal also pointed out that Disha's bail plea was heard in length by the Sessions Judge on Saturday, who had also reserved his order on the matter.
“As per the Delhi High Court Rules, police remand can't be granted just because the prosecution is asking for it. There has to be real necessity for the court to grant police custody,” he argued.
Events So Far
Ravi was arrested by the Delhi Police from Bengaluru on Saturday, on charges of “sharing and spreading” a toolkit related to the farmers’ protest, that was posted by Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg.
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 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.
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