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‘Toolkit’ case: Bombay HC grants 3-week transit anticipatory bail to Nikita Jacob

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

New Delhi: The Bombay High Court on Wednesday gave one of the ‘toolkit’ case suspects, activist and advocate Nikita Jacob, against whom a non-bailable warrant is issued in Delhi, three-weeks protection under transit anticipatory bail to approach the competent court for seeking appropriate relief. Delhi police special cell named Nikita and two others in Greta Thunberg’s controversial toolkit case alleged of inciting Republic day farmer protest violence.

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The High Court said that in the event of arrest in the crime registered by Special Cell, Delhi Police, the applicant (Jacob) be released on bail on furnishing Rs. 25000 personal bonds and sureties.

“This protection is granted for a period of three weeks from today (Wednesday) to enable the applicant to approach the competent court for seeking appropriate relief,” the Bombay High Court bench noted and disposed of Jacob’s application. The court had reserved its order on Jacob’s plea on Tuesday.

On Monday, Delhi Police issued non-bailable warrants against Jacob and Muluk, who work for a UK-based NGO Extinction Rebellion, accusing them of creating the toolkit tweeted by Thunberg on the farmers’ protest.

Where their another ally, Disha Ravi is under 5-day Police custody after her arrest on February 13 evening, Jacob has also been booked under IPC Sections 124(A) for sedition, 153(A) for promoting enmity between different groups, and 120(B) for criminal conspiracy.

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Meanwhile, Muluk was granted 10-day transit anticipatory bail on a personal bond of Rs 50,000, to approach the competent/appropriate court for relief, on Tuesday, by a single-judge bench of Justice Vibha V Kankanwadi of the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court.

Appearing before a single-judge bench of Justice Prakash D Naik on Tuesday, advocate Hiten Venegaonkar, who represented Delhi Police’s Cyber Cell unit, challenged the maintainability of Jacob’s plea and submitted that the offence had been registered in Delhi and that there is no cause of action in the jurisdiction of the Bombay High Court to grant anticipatory bail.

On February 11, Venegaonkar submitted that the Delhi Police had recovered material from Jacob’s house, and that she was present at her residence and had recorded her statement. “When we went to her house, we investigated and interrogated her there. After sunset, we could not have further interrogated her,” he said, adding that when they turned up the next day on February 12, she was absconding.

However, Jacob’s counsel Mihir Desai said his client, who has practiced in the HC for nearly 6-7 years, had apprehended arrest and therefore filed for transitory pre-arrest bail on February 12.

“The apprehension is fortified by the fact that non-bailable warrant was issued in Delhi thereafter,” the court said in its order. Referring to Desai’s submissions about recording of her statement and seizure of her mobile and laptop, the court said, “It indicated that the applicant has made herself available.”

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Arguing that “the toolkit does not talk about any violence or taking over of Red Fort etc”, Desai in her bail plea submitted that it was prepared only to support farmers and “there are nearly 50 persons in this case and one person happens to be Khalistani is their (Delhi Police) argument”.

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