Kappan, who has already been granted bail by the Supreme Court in a UAPA matter, is still behind bars due to a case lodged against him by the ED under the PMLA.
THE Allahabad High Court’s Lucknow bench is likely to hear on Wednesday the bail petition filed by Kerala-based journalist Siddique Kappan, who was arrested in October 2020 by the Uttar Pradesh police on his way to report the Hathras gang-rape case. He is seeking bail in a case lodged by the Directorate of Enforcement (‘ED’) under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA).
On September 9, the Supreme Court granted him bail under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, (‘UAPA’) observing, albeit orally, that the literature found in possession of Kappan was not provocative. It had thus set aside the order of the Allahabad High Court refusing bail to Kappan.
However, Kappan continued to remain incarcerated in jail because a local court in Lucknow had rejected his bail in the PMLA case on October 31. Even under the UAPA matter, in which he was granted bail, the verification sureties, including the one given by former vice-chancellor of Lucknow University, Roop Rekha Verma, have still not been completed by the authorities.
Kappan and his co-accused were charge-sheeted on April 2, 2021, under Sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), 124A (sedition) and 120B (punishment of criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, Sections 65 (tampering with computer source documents) and 72 (penalty for breach of confidentiality and privacy) of the Information Technology Act, 2000, and Sections 17 (punishment for raising funds for terrorist act) and 18 (punishment for conspiracy, etc.) of the UAPA.
The Uttar Pradesh Police alleged that Kappan and the three other accused persons who were traveling with him were part of a “conspiracy” to inflame religious enmity over the Hathras rape case.
On August 23, a division bench of the Allahabad High Court granted bail to Alam alias Mohammad Alam, a cab driver from Delhi, who was arrested with Kappan and others.