A Delhi Court today disposed of the anticipatory bail applications preferred by Nikita Jacob, Shantanu Muluk and Shubham Kar Chaudhari in connection with the Farmers Protests Toolkit case.
The Court recorded that if the arrest of the three accused persons becomes unavoidable, an advance notice of seven working days shall be given to them by the Delhi police. During these seven days, the accused may avail their legal remedies.
Arguments on the anticipatory bail applications were heard at length by Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana today.
Counsel for Jacob and Muluk inter alia argued that they worked for an environmental campaign called Extinction Rebellion and had no association with any secessionist ideology, especially the Khalistani movement.
Counsel for Chaudhuri argued that his client was merely a liaison officer for the campaign’s South Asia region and had not even seen the toolkit in question.
Delhi Police, on the other hand, claimed that the investigation was still at an initial stage and required technical analysis.
Observing that the same would-be time consuming, the Court questioned the prosecution if they presently had enough material to support the arrest of the accused.
In response, a Delhi Police officer who was present at the hearing said,
“Based on the conduct of accused, custodial interrogation would be needed. We are dependent on foreign-based service providers (such as Zoom and Twitter) …We don’t want to have a situation where we are denied custodial interrogation.”
Subsequently, a proposal was made by the defence counsel to dispose of the bail pleas subject to the condition that an advance notice may be given to them prior to arrest. Delhi Police acceded to the proposal.
Last month, the Bombay High Court had granted Nikita Jacob protection from arrest for three weeks in the case. Similar protection was also extended to Muluk and Chaudhuri, albeit for a lesser duration. This period of protection was later extended by the Court from time to time.