The Delhi High Court today asked Delhi Police to respond to a plea by former Congress municipal councillor Ishrat Jahan, charged under the anti-terror law UAPA in a case related to communal violence in north-east Delhi in February, challenging an order extending time for completing the investigation by 60 more days.
Justice Suresh Kumar Kait, who conducted the hearing through video conferencing, issued notice to Delhi Police and asked it to file written arguments within 10 days.
The court also allowed Ms Jahan’s counsel to file written arguments and some additional documents related to the case.
Additional Public Prosecutor Amit Chadha accepted the notice on behalf of Delhi Police and sought time to file the reply, after which the court listed the matter for further hearing on July 7.
Ms Jahan, who was arrested on February 26, has challenged the trial court’s June 15 order granting 60-day extension to police to complete its investigation against her and activist Khalid Saifi.
The court was informed that Saifi had allegedly travelled outside India and met persons including fugitive Zakir Naik, controversial Islamic preacher, to get funds for spreading his agenda and the investigation regarding this required more time.
Advocate Manu Sharma, who appeared for Ms Jahan, sought setting aside of the trial court’s order, saying it was “erroneous, bad in law and wrong on facts” and it was against the democratic and fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
“The application by the prosecutor is an abuse of the legal process as the same fails to make out any legal or factual basis that justifies extension of time. This exercise is only to subvert and defeat the right of the petitioner to seek regular and statutory bail,” said the plea filed through advocate Lalit Valecha.
It contended that the prosecutor has not mentioned any specific reason as to why the custody of Ms Jahan was required, which is a mandatory condition under the provisions of the UAPA, still the sessions court granted extension of time to file chargesheet.
Ms Jahan’s counsel claimed that she has been fully cooperating with the investigating agency and already revealed the questioned source of funds to the police.
The trial court, in its June 15 order, had said the prosecution has set out a case for extension of the statutory time period to conclude the investigation but the investigating officer was not divested of his obligation of concluding the probe expeditiously.