March 1: The Delhi high court sent student leader Kanhaiya Kumar back to jail while reserving its order on his bail till Wednesday.
After a three-hour hearing, Delhi high court judge Pratibha Rani reserved her order on the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union president’s bail plea filed by his lawyer Vrinda Grover and argued by senior advocate Kapil Sibal. It is likely to be pronounced on March 2.
Kumar has been at the centre of a storm since the controversial February 9 event at JNU where “anti-national” slogans were allegedly raised.
Police reportedly told the court that Kumar’s release at this early stage of investigation may hamper witnesses from coming forward, and may create law and order problems, police told the high court.
The Delhi Police admitted before the court that “it has no video footage” which could show that JNU student union chief Kanhaiya Kumar, arrested on sedition charges, was shouting anti-national slogans.
Police, however, said that they weren’t just relying on the much debated video tape that has since been alleged to be doctored.
“We have students, guards and officers deposing that he (Kumar) led the rally,” police said.
Earlier in its status report, Delhi Police opposed bail for Kumar and said authorities needed to confront him with two other accused Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya – both of whom surrendered late on February 22 – to unearth “any larger conspiracy”.
Kanhaiya was not cooperating in the interrogation, police told the court.
Kumar’s police remand was sought for a third time to probe the alleged “linkage” between him and some “foreign elements” present during the February 9 event. Police said it hadn’t identified the persons who hid their faces.
But advocate Vrinda Grover, who is defending the JNU students, dismissed the report, saying it wasn’t based on the police investigation.
“We will be filing a detailed reply. Kanhaiya went to the event as JNUSU president to ensure there was no dispute between the two groups,” Grover told HT.
The Delhi government counsel Rahul Mehra too supported the demand for Kumar’s bail.
“As a state, I pray the court to grant him bail,” Mehra told justice Pratibha Rani.
An accused can be held in police custody for a period of not more than 14 days normally. As Kanhaiya was arrested on February 12, Delhi Police have the statutory right to seek remand before the expiry of 14-day period, the HC was told.