Sharjeel Imam at Chanakyapuri in New Delhi on Wednesday, January 29, 2020. Photo: PTI

New Delhi: Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) scholar Sharjeel Imam has moved the Delhi high court regarding the dismissal of his bail application by a special court in the case of a ‘larger conspiracy’ involved in the February 2020 Delhi riots, Bar and Bench reported.

A division bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Rajnish Bhatnagar will hear the matter on Friday, April 29.

Imam has challenged an April 11, 2022 order passed by Amitabh Rawat, additional sessions judge (ASJ), Karkardooma courts wherein the bench had said that statements of protected witnesses, which alleged Imam’s role in a conspiracy leading to the riots, had to be taken at face value at that stage in the case.

The court had also opined that, prima facie, there was a premeditated conspiracy involved in the riots, which broke out at 23 places in the city and came after ‘chakka jams’, allegedly organised by Imam and others.

Imam’s present plea notes that the special court “failed to appreciate that the entire investigation is faulty” and that the chargesheet in the case attributes incidents of violence to Imam’s speeches which are not related, “even as per the materials relied upon in the chargesheet”.

The plea also argues that there was “no admissible evidence whatsoever” that Imam was part of any plan with the other accused in the case to turn “peaceful sitting protests/chakka jams into communal riots”.

It also notes that even according to the prosecution’s case, Imam was already in judicial custody almost a month before the riots took place.

ASJ Rawat’s April 11 order had said that in cases of conspiracy, various acts by different individuals are committed and no one act can be read in isolation.

“At times, if read by itself, one act or activity may appear innocuous, but if it is a part of a chain of events constituting a conspiracy, then all events must be read together,” the Times of India quoted the order as saying.

During the course of the hearing, advocate Tanvir Mir, appearing for Imam, said that a case of conspiracy can not be levelled against Imam because he had been in custody days before the riots took place.

“Sharjeel Imam, the moment he is arrested, the case against him for conspiracy, if any, is over. Post arrest of Sharjeel Imam, nothing can be attached to him for conspiracy,” Mir had argued, according.

However, special public prosecutor (SPP) Amit Prasad, giving the analogy of a cricket team said, “In the sequence of openers, assuming somebody one wicket is lost, that doesn’t mean the intent to win the game is lost. Merely because Imam is removed from the team by event of his arrest in 22/2020, doesn’t mean the entire conspiracy is abandoned,” according to LiveLaw.

SPP Prasad had also argued that just because Imam was charged in FIR 22/2020, doesn’t mean he can’t also be charged under FIR 59/2020 (the present case of conspiracy).

Imam is also seeking bail before the Delhi high court in relation to another case pertaining to allegedly inflammatory speeches he made at Jamia Millia Islamia in December, 2019 and Aligarh Muslim University in January, 2020, in relation to the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens.

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