Expressing its displeasure with access given to the media to the supplementary chargesheet filed in a Delhi Riots case even before cognizance was taken, the Delhi High Court today sought an affidavit from the Delhi Police fixing responsibility on the person involved in leaking the same (Asif Iqbal Tanha v. State).
While counsel for Delhi Police, advocate Amit Mahajan submitted that there was no leakage from their end, Justice Mukta Gupta clarified that the chargesheet was police property and it was now the responsibility of the agency to ascertain who was responsible for the leakage.
“It is a proved allegation (that the chargesheet was leaked) once it comes in media. It no more remains an allegation…You have to ascertain who has done it,” the Court said.
The Court added that in any case, the leak was either criminal breach of trust or theft.
The Court was hearing a petition filed by Delhi Riots accused Asif Iqbal Tanha concerning the media reporting on his alleged disclosure statement before filing of chargesheet in the case against him under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
Today, counsel for Tanha, advocate Siddharth Aggarwal informed the Court that even the latest chargesheet in the case had been leaked to media in similar vein.
The trial court’s order noticing the “disturbing trend” of media reporting the “exact content” of chargesheets even before cognizance was also brought to the Court’s attention.
Earlier this week, the High Court had pulled up the Delhi Police for its “half-baked” vigilance enquiry into how Tanha’s alleged disclosure statement was leaked to the media before the chargesheet was filed.
It had then sought the presence of Special Commissioner of Police (Vigilance), Delhi before it on the next date.
Consequently, officer Sundari Nanda was virtually present for today’s hearing.
The matter will be heard next on March 25.