New Delhi, Apr 17 (ILNS) A Delhi Court today granted bail to Punjabi actor-turned-activist Deep Sidhu 26 in a case relating to the violence that broke out after the tractor rally by farmers on Republic Day, this year.
Additional Sessions Judge Neelofer Abida Perveen granted bail to Sidhu and directed him to furnish a bail bond of Rs 30,000 and two sureties of like amount.
The court also turned down the apprehension of the prosecution that Sidhu is at flight risk and can abscond. “The accused-applicant as per the own case of the prosecution is a well-known public figure with deep roots in society and such apprehensions are capable of being allayed by imposing stricter conditions,” the court said.
“Investigation is in progress and the identity of other offenders is in the process of being established, derived largely from scrutiny and scanning of video footage available on social media platforms and CCTV recordings and for the purposes, the investigating agency has already availed of 14 days police custody of the accused,” the court said further.
The court further directed Sidhu to deposit his passport with the IO and also mention the mobile number to be used by him, while ensuring that the said number is kept on switched on mode throughout with location activated and shared with the IO at all times, and shall telephonically confirm his location with the I0 on the first and fifteenth of each calender month.
“He shall join investigation as and when called upon to do so and in every manner as required by the IO, he shall scrupulously appear on each and every date of hearing before the Trial Court and shall not delay defeat or interfere with the trial in any manner whatsoever, he shall not influence threaten intimidate witnesses nor tamper with evidence in any manner whatsoever,” the court said.
On April 12, Additional Sessions Judge Neelofer Abida Parveen had reserved its order on the bail application filed by Sidhu, who was arrested for his alleged involvement in the violence that took place at the Red Fort and other parts of the national capital on Republic Day.
While the matter was being heard by way of video-conferencing, Advocate Abhishek Gupta, appearing for Sidhu, had informed the court that the transcripts of the speeches given by Sidhu have been submitted before the court, as per its earlier orders.
Referring to the said transcripts, Public Prosecutor K P Singh, appearing for the Delhi Police, informed the court that Sidhu had given various interviews to the electronic media, where he had admitted that he was aware way before that the farmers would divert from the route.
“Sidhu has given an interview to a Punjabi channel, where it’s clear about his intention to commit violence to blame our country and disregard our national flag,” the PP argued, while reading the transcript.
Mr Singh, referring to another video, where Sidhu is visible at the Red Fort, said, “In this video, the National flag is thrown in his presence, but he didn’t say anything, didn’t do anything regarding this. He did not console the mob.”
Referring to a transcript where a reporter had asked Sidhu “Jhanda phehrana kis baat ka maksad hai?” (What is the purpose behind hoisting the flag?), the PP informed the court that Sidhu replied, “Hum apna haq lene aaye hain. Agar aap hume humara haq nahi denge, toh humari fauj kya kya kar sakti hain wo aapne dekh lia”.
“This is threatening,” the public prosecutor argued, while adding that in the same interview, the actor instigated the flagging of Nishan Sahib. The Public Prosecutor further contended, “When he reached the pole where the flag was hoisted, it was done only after his instigation. This clearly shows his intention”.
Investigating Officer Pankaj Arora, while appearing before the court, submitted that Sidhu shall not be granted bail, as he will destroy the evidence. “He has already destroyed two phones, while he was on the run. Parity also cannot be a ground to give him bail because he has the main role,” Mr Arora submitted.
He further contended that Sidhu knew it beforehand that the march is going to happen.
“That particular area at the Red Fort is highly prohibited. Only the Prime Minister and certain dignitaries have permission to go there,” the IO said.
Opposing the submissions made by the prosecution, Advocate Gupta argued that in the said transcripts, Sidhu is talking about unity in the protest. “He is insisting that let’s be united and follow what the leadership is deciding,” Mr Gupta said.
“Upon reading the said transcripts, even if two views are possible, there is a presumption of innocence, which should be in my favour,” he argued, while also adding that Sidhu never stated a single word for Red Fort.
“People came from all four directions. I always talked about unity. I reached there much later. On the point of slogans, how can there be incitement? As per their logic, whoever reached the Red Fort that day, has to be an accused. This isn’t the correct position,” Mr Gupta submitted. ILNS/ANB/SNG/RJ