Former JNU student Umar Khalid leading a protest in Mumbai. Representative image. (Express File Photo by Nirmal Harindran)

Former JNU student Umar Khalid, one of the accused in the Delhi Police case alleging larger conspiracy behind the Northeast Delhi riots, Tuesday told a Delhi court that allegations against him are products of the “fertile imagination” of the investigating officer (IO) and the material to arrest him was prepared merely a month before he was taken into custody last year.

The submissions on Khalid’s behalf were made by senior advocate Trideep Pais before Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat during the hearing of his bail plea in the UAPA case. The arguments will continue on November 8.

“This is called fertile imagination. This person is not an IO. He is a scriptwriter. Literally, this is a novella the person has written,” submitted Pais, while reading the chargesheet that alleges Khalid to be behind the ‘Jamia Coordination Committee’ group.

Khalid’s counsel submitted that the prosecution needs to show their claims of how he made the group when he is not even a member of the WhatsApp group, and highlighted how selective the arrests have been. However, he added that nobody should have been made accused.

Referring to the statement of a witness that was recorded in August 2020, Pais submitted that he was not attributing anything directly to Khalid. “You find this person in August that too one month before my arrest,” he submitted, adding that police could find only one witness but still have no evidence.

Submitting that Chakka Jam is not an offence and cannot be equated with a terror act, Pais further argued that the protest form is used by students, farmers and others during agitations. He also objected to the allegation that women were paid to sit at the protest site and asked whether any of them had appeared before the prosecution to support the claim. “Don’t they have their own say?” asked Pais.

Pais also argued that police wanted to frame Khalid because he is a political person who speaks, adding that there was no rational basis in how the arrests had been made. A number of educated personalities were associated with the anti-CAA protests who “luckily” have not been made the accused, he added.

“The protest was secular. The chargesheet is communal,” Pais contended while referring to the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act.

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