Umar lawyer to court: Chargesheet makes assertions in thin air

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Former JNU student Umar Khalid’s lawyer Friday told a Delhi court that a chargesheet cannot be a narrative without any basis and that the allegations had been made in thin air.

Senior advocate Trideep Pais was rebutting the prosecutor’s arguments on Umar’s bail application in the Northeast Delhi riots UAPA case, being heard by Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat.

On allegations that Umar met with JNU student Sharjeel Imam, Pais told the court that there were no witnesses and no basis for this assertion, and that the chargesheet “makes this assertion in thin air”.

“A chargesheet cannot be a narrative without a basis. The supplementary chargesheet is without a basis,” Pais told the court.

Pais read an extract from the chargesheet regarding a meeting to decide the plan of action for anti-CAA protests.

“He is present at the meeting. No criminality. No members speak of conspiracy. Several others who attended are not arrested,” Pais told the court.

On allegations that Umar visited the Jamia area, Pais said: “There is no criminality in going to Jamia. Thousands go to that area. No allegation of violence attributed to me.”

On the police stating that the investigation in the riot case was still ongoing, Pais said this was not an answer.

“We are talking about February, 2020. You cannot say Umar and others were there in the meeting. You have to show what is the qualitative difference in action of me and others. I am in custody… This is not a civil suit… You choose to emphasise on one person and arrest that person,” Pais submitted.

Pais read out other allegations surrounding a meeting Umar attended and told the court, “Assertion without a witness to support it. Pure imagination of the prosecution. You first want to make a story and then make evidence to complete that story.”

“It was given a colour of criminality. On WhatsApp four messages, one of which was giving direction. Even if that meeting did take place. and I took part in it, there is nothing criminal,” Pais submitted.

On allegations that Umar gave a speech, Pais told the court, “He is said to have given a speech and unless a criminality is shown, democratic right of freedom of speech and expression allows him to give a speech.”

“Chargesheet doesn’t say it is provocative speech but the witness says it is. Goes back to the question – first write the story and then who can I get to support it. Then when I find it, I put it in the story,” Pais told the court.

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