Mohammed Zubair’s laptop, fact-checker, other devices still under investigation

New Delhi:

Delhi Police told the Delhi High Court that a laptop and other devices seized from Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair are being deposited at the forensic laboratory to recover data which needs to be analyzed. regarding an allegedly objectionable tweet posted by him in 2018 against a Hindu deity.

Police made the submissions in an affidavit filed in the High Court in response to a plea by Zubair against his arrest and exercise of search and seizure in a case related to the alleged objectionable tweet.

Zubair challenged the legality and propriety of a June 28 trial court order granting custody of the fact-checking website founder to police for four days.

As an interim measure, Zubair’s solicitor has requested that the police not venture into Zubair’s laptop until the motion has been decided by the High Court, as the tweet was made via a cell phone and not the computer.

The plea was filed in the Supreme Court, which granted him interim bond on July 20.

Judge Purushaindra Kumar Kaurav scheduled the case for a rehearing on October 31, while allowing time for Zubair’s lawyer to file a reply in the case.

Police in their affidavit said while in custody, a laptop, two bills and a hard drive were recovered from the Bengaluru residence in Zubair based on a disclosure statement which is admissible under of Indian law on evidence and must be considered at the time of trial.

She said reversing the trial court’s custody order would render recovery inadmissible.

“The devices seized during the custody have already been deposited at Forensic Science Laboratory, Rohini, Delhi. The data needs to be retrieved from these devices and needs to be analyzed against the tweet in question and other tweets of a similar nature accused Mohd Zubair (if recovered). As such, the items/devices seized are not beyond allegation as mentioned by the petitioner in the petition prayer,” the statement reads. affidavit.

However, he said the petitioner could apply to the relevant forum for the release of the items seized on the “superdari” (handing over custody of something to a person until further orders) as the analysis of these devices is complete.

The police sought to dismiss Zubair’s petition saying it had become unsuccessful because the relief sought regarding the cancellation of the custody order could not be granted as the period had already expired.

Barrister Vrinda Grover, representing Zubair, previously advised the High Court that the magistrates’ court granted her bail in July, but urged the bench to grant her the relief sought in the petition.

On July 1, the High Court issued an opinion on Zubair’s motion and granted the investigative agency time to file its response to the plea.

Zubair was arrested by Delhi police on June 27 for allegedly hurting religious feelings through one of his tweets.

His lawyer had argued in court that the custody order issued after the applicant’s arrest was mechanical and devoid of spirit and that no offense had been brought against him.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Delhi Police, raised objections to whether the petition could go forward and said the FIR is only an “initiation of proceedings” and the investigative body can find elements to show that there is no infringement or that there is a serious infringement which is not part of the FIR.

Earlier in June, a case was filed against Zubair under Sections 153A (promotion of enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, birthplace, language, etc.) and 295A (act willful and malicious intended to outrage religious feelings) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Police said the case was filed on the complaint of a Twitter user who accused him of hurting religious feelings.

The police, while seeking an extension of Zubair’s custody for five days, had alleged in the trial court that the defendant was following a trend where he used religious tweets in an attempt to gain fame and that he was a deliberate effort to create social discord and hurt religious sentiments.

The investigative agency also said the accused joined the investigation but did not cooperate and that various items from his phone were deleted.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Virginia C. Taylor