A Delhi Court yesterday granted bail to Punjabi actor Deep Sidhu in the case concerning the violence that took place at Red Fort on January 26 during the farmers’ tractor rally.
The order passed by Additional Sessions Judge Nilofer Abeeda Parveen of the Tis Hazari Courts reads,
“..the present application is allowed and accused Sandeep Singh Sidhu @ Deep Sidhu is granted regular bail in case FIR No. 96/2021, subject to his furnishing personal bond with two local sureties in the sum of Rs 30,000/- each to the satisfaction of the Ld. Trial Court/Duty MM..”
The Court has directed Sidhu to deposit his passport with the Investigating Officer (IO) and ensure that the phone number given by him to the Officer is switched on throughout with “location activated and shared with IO”.
Further, Sidhu shall on the first and fifteenth of each calendar, confirm his location with IO and join the investigation as and when called upon to do so, and appear before the trial court on each and every date of hearing.
The Court has also directed Sidhu to not influence, threaten, intimidate witnesses or tamper with evidence in any manner whatsoever.
Sidhu was arrested on February 9 for commission of offences under a host of Sections under the Indian Penal Code, Sections 25/27/54/59 of the Arms Act, and Section 3 of the Prevention of Destruction of Public Property Act in connection with the tractor rally violence.
As per the prosecution, Sidhu was the main conspirator behind the violence at Red Fort. Relying on a series of interviews given by Sidhu, the prosecution said that his intention was to create violence and disregard the national flag. The police apprehended that if he is released on bail, Sidhu would destroy evidence.
Seeking bail in the matter, Sidhu argued that his implication was a “classic case” of trial by media and that he was just a peaceful protestor exercising his fundamental right.
As per Sidhu, he was not even present at the Red Fort when the violence took place. He maintained that he had not called for any tractor rally and that there was nothing on record to show that he indulged in violence or instigated it.
Sidhu also denied the prosecution’s allegation that he instigated one Jugraj Singh to hoist the Nishan Sahib flag at Red Fort. He contended that he did not even know Jugraj Singh and that whether hoisting of the Nishan Sahib flag was a criminal offence was itself a matter of debate.
Sidhu also said that chanting religious slogans was not a criminal offence, and did not incite violence.
Considering that the investigation was still in progress and it would violate Sidhu’s fundamental right to life and liberty guaranteed if he was denied bail only on the ground that the Police was yet to establish the identity of the other members of the unlawful assembly.
“Investigation is in progress and the identity of offenders is in the process of being established, derived largely from scrutiny and scanning of video footage available on social media platforms and CCTV recordings and for the purposes the investigating agency has already availed of 14 days police custody of the accused-applicant. The prosecution alleges involvement of thousands of offenders and it would violate and infringe the fundamental right to life and liberty guaranteed to the accused-applicant if the accused-applicant is denied bail in the present case on such nature of accusations and material only on the ground that the investigation agency is yet to establish the identity of the several other members of the unlawful assembly.”
The Court stated that there was only a “remote possibility” of Sidhu being able to interfere with the contents of the video recordings and footage of the alleged incidents which are on social media sites and form the basis of the prosecution case.
The Court added that Sidhu was a well-known public figure with deep roots on the society.
Advocates Abhishek Gupta and Jaspreet SIngh Rai represented Sidhu. Advocate KP Singh argued on behalf of the prosecution.