New Delhi: A Delhi Sessions Court on Tuesday afternoon granted, the 22-year-old climate activist Disha Ravi bail over the allegations of her involvement in infamous “toolkit” case- subject to provision of two sureties of ₹ 1 lakh each. The bail plea was approved today after the court reserved its order on Saturday.
“Considering the scanty and sketchy evidence on record, I do not find any palpable reason to breach the rule of bail for a 22-year-old girl who has absolutely no criminal antecedent,” Additional Sessions Judge Dharmendra Rana stated in his bail order.
Shortly afterwards a second judge, Pankaj Sharma, the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate of the Patiala House Court, disposed off a Delhi Police application seeking extended custody for further four days. Till now, Ms Ravi has already spent six days in police custody and two in jail.
In today’s brief hearing, where Delhi Police opposed Disha’s grant of bail alleging she could tamper evidence if released, Ms Ravi’s counsel argued that she had no links with the ‘Khalistani’ movement, and that a case of sedition could not be sustained.
In last week’s hearing Judge Rana had picked holes in Delhi Police argument that Ms Ravi and two others, activist Shantanu Muluk and lawyer Nikita Jacob, were in league with secessionists and had conspired Republic day violence.
The judge dubbed Delhi Police’s reasoning “conjecture”.
“What is the evidence collected by you to show the link between her and the January 26 violence? You have argued about her role in toolkit and (that) she (is) in touch with secessionists,” he said in response to Delhi police council, Additional Solicitor General SV Raju’s statement, “conspiracy can be seen only through circumstantial evidence.” The judge further said, “So you don’t have any evidence to connect Disha with the January 26 violence?”
Reprimanding the Delhi Police over the fact that those who were involved in the tractor rally violence were arrested in another case, the judge stressed, “Where is the connection between conspiracy and offence? I have still not got the answer.”
Whereas Ms Ravi’s counsel Siddharth Agarwal kept on claiming that she had no contact with secessionists. There is no evidence to show “she is one (a secessionist)”, Ms Ravi’s lawyer had alleged, adding that the only text messages submitted by the police as proof of its claims were with Poetic Justice Foundation (PJF), which is not a banned organisation.
Disha’s arrest came after climate activist Greta Thunberg tweeted a toolkit document which the police alleged had led to the January 26 violence in New Delhi. In her tweet the Swedish environmentalist had called for a protest on February 13 and 14 in connection with the ongoing Indian farmers’ protest, that is staged against the Centre’s newly formed farm laws at the borders of Delhi since November 26, however, this was focused on the Republic Day protests. Without naming Thunberg in the FIR, the Delhi Police went ahead to register the case against the authors of the toolkit citing it to be a global conspiracy to “spread disaffection against the Indian state”.