Dismissing the bail plea of Zubair, who runs India’s leading fact-checking website, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Snigdha Sarvaria noted Delhi police’s contention that probe in the case was still on.
Zubair was produced before the court on the expiry of his five-day custodial interrogation.
During the hearing, Public Prosecutor Atul Srivastava told the court that the police do not require Zubair to be sent for custodial interrogation but they may require Zubair’s police custody in the near future.
Asking the judge for 14-days judicial custody of Zubair, Srivastava also informed the court that the police has invoked new provisions — sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 201 (destruction of evidence) of the Indian Penal Code and section 35 of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act against Zubair.
After the police’s submission, Zubair sought bail on the ground that he was not required for the investigation any further. Zubair’s advocate Vrinda Grover told the court that the phone seized by the police was not of the time the tweets were made. “Tweet is of 2018, the phone is which I (Zubair) am using presently. I haven’t even denied the tweet,” she submitted.
Zubair was arrested by the Delhi Police on Monday, 27 June, on the charges of outraging religious feelings and promoting enmity between different groups.
On 24 March 2018, Zubair had tweeted a picture of the signboard of a hotel changed from ‘Honeymoon Hotel’ to ‘Hanuman Hotel.’ “Before 2014: Honeymoon Hotel. After 2014 : Hanuman Hotel. #SanskaariHotel,” read his tweet.
Pertinently, the image to which the objection has been raised is taken from the 1983 comedy film Kissi Se Na Kehna, directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee. The movie has aired on TV and other streaming platforms and has due clearance from the censor board.
Srivastava, however, argued on Saturday, “It is not a case of time-barred… It is still a continuing offence as the tweet is still there… When the film was released, it was not the age of the internet.”
Zubair was earlier booked under sections 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot) and 295 (injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class) of the IPC.
(With Inputs from PTI)
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