Days after a report claimed that Umar Khalid had allegedly ‘admitted’ that he ‘conspired to fuel’ the Delhi riots, the former JNU student has moved an application in court about the “vicious media campaign” against him, saying it was affecting his right to a free and fair trial.
According to the Indian Express, Khalid appearing before metropolitan magistrate Dinesh Kumar through a video conference from the Tihar jail and asked how chargesheets in the Delhi riots cases were “repeatedly leaked” to the media before the accused were able to access them. He said the “media trial” was affecting his right to a “free and fair trial”.
A recent report by News18 had claimed that a supplementary chargesheet in the Khajuri Khas violence case said Khalid had “admitted” he “conspired to fuel [the Delhi] riots”. While the police had filed the chargesheet on December 26, Khalid and his counsel did not receive it until Monday.
According to the Indian Express, Khalid said he was noting with “absolute dismay” the pattern of the Delhi Police’s conduct of leaking the chargesheet, which he said is “prejudicial to a fair trial”.
“Till date, I have not received the chargesheet but in the last few days, the media has been given access to it,” he said.
“Things are put out in the public domain without giving us a chance to rebut… I got to know from the media that my confessional statement is part of the chargesheet. If this is true, I want to point out that on October 4, when I was remanded to judicial custody in this case, I had given it in writing that I have not given any confessional statement; I have not signed on absolutely any paper,” he said, adding that the case against him is “absolutely fabricated”.
The former JNU student requested the magistrate to ask the investigating officer or prosecution lawyer how the chargesheet was being leaked “again and again”.
“I’m being condemned without a trial…. This only shows one thing, the prosecution is absolutely not confident about any evidence… they want to condemn me in the public domain through these leaks,” Khalid said, according to the Indian Express.
According to Hindustan Times, Khalid’s counsel Trideep Pais accused the media of not sticking to its code of ethics. He said that in many reports, the word “alleged” has been
The magistrate said he could not pass an order on the matter Monday, and listed the matter for hearing on Tuesday, when the supplementary chargesheet and main chargesheet will be filed in court. The magistrate said he would also hear the matter regarding the News18 report at length on Tuesday, but added, “Sometimes they (media) write that such thing has been done by so and so. ‘Alleged’ word has been missing in the reports in many cases.”
The chargesheet accuses Khalid of fuelling riots at the Khajuri Khas area in February last year. Suspended Aam Aadmi Party councillor Tahir Hussain and activist Khalid Saifi are also co-accused in this case.