Disha Ravi. Photo Credit: Deccan Herald.

Court asks Delhi police for evidence connecting controversial Toolkit to Republic Day violence; queries if it’s just conjectures and inferences

A Delhi Court Saturday sought to know from the Delhi police the evidence to connect the Toolkit with the Republic Day violence during the tractor rally.

Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Dharmanedra Rana asked the Additional Solicitor General (ASG), SV Raju whether there was any direct link to the Toolkit or “do we have to make conjectures and inferences here?”

These observations were made by the court while hearing a bail plea filed by 22-year-old climate activist Disha Ravi who is facing sedition charges in connection with the Toolkit case and is presently in judicial custody.

After hearing both sides at length, the court reserved its order for February 23.

Opposing the bail request, ASJ Raju, for the Delhi Police, said Ravi’s custody was required to confront her as she had tried to put the blame on the other two accused. He further said that if the 22-year-old was enlarged on bail, the purpose of the custodial interrogation would be frustrated.

Raju submitted that the Toolkit was also shared with the Poetic Justice Foundation – a secessionist organisation that advocates for Khalistan. He added that Ravi deleted WhatsApp chats, emails and other evidence as she was aware of the legal actions she could face.

“Why did Disha Ravi cover her tracks and delete evidence if she did not commit wrong?” the police asked, alleging that this showed her “guilty mind and sinister design”.

Also Read: Disha Ravi case: Police must not share information with the media if it can hamper investigation or accused’s rights: Delhi HC

ASG Raju went on to state that the Toolkit was not as innocuous as it appeared. It was shared with the Poetic Justice Foundation which showed again intent and sinister design. The Toolkit needed to be seen in this background, ASG said.

“This was not just a Toolkit; The real plan was to defame India and create unrest”, Raju argued.

The ASG added that large volumes of data still needed to be analysed as the investigation had just been initiated. He, thus, vehemently urged the court not to grant bail as it could hamper the investigation.

He also stated that there was also the need to check if Disha had any other laptop or mobile phone. “We do not know yet, we need to find it out, and if she is released on bail, she may tamper with the evidence,” Raju argued.

“Ravi used her own phone number to make the WhatsApp group. She used it to tweet with Greta Thunberg. On 03.02.2021 the conspiracy was unearthed because of Greta’s tweet”, Raju submitted.

He added “Disha asked Greta Thunberg to delete the document. If it was so innocuous, why did she ask Greta Thunberg to remove it? This shows there was a sinister plan behind this toolkit.”

Rejecting the allegations of the Delhi police, advocate Siddharth Agarwal, for Disha Ravi, submitted that there was no evidence to link Ravi with with Sikhs For Justice, a banned organisation.

“if highlighting farmers’ protest globally is sedition, I am better off in jail”, Agarwal told the court.

Referring to the FIR, Agarwal said some of the allegations were that Yoga and ‘Chai’ were being targeted. He questioned whether that was in an offence?

Agarwal submitted that the police had no material to show that the Toolkit instigated people to commit violence. They had arrested a total of 149 people. “Did they (police) find even a single person who had read the Toolkit or was in touch with Disha?”

Also Read: Former SC judge, lawyers and leading newspapers speak out against the sedition charge against climate activist Disha Ravi over the ‘Toolkit’; question the validity of the arrest

“Toolkit does not say anything which incites violence. It merely tells people to come forward, express solidarity and join the march. “If I sent or encouraged people to take part in the march, do I become seditious?” argued Siddharth Agarwal, for Ravi.

Disha Ravi was arrested on Saturday, February 13, by the ‘Cyber Cell’ of the Delhi police, from her residence in Bengaluru. The following day, she was taken to New Delhi and remanded to the custody of the police for five days by the duty magistrate of the Patiala House court in New Delhi.

The young activist was arrested on the basis of an FIR filed on February 4 by the cell against “unknown persons” for sharing the controversial ‘Toolkit’ on the ongoing farmer’s protest on social media platforms. The Toolkit was tweeted by renowned climate activist Greta Thunberg, drawing global attention to the farmers’ protests in India.

The sections in the FIR include 124A (sedition), 153A (promoting hatred amongst various communities on social/cultural/religious grounds) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.

Eariler, the Bombay High Court granted transit bail to activist lawyers Nitika Jacob and Shantanu Muluk for 3 weeks and 10 days respectively. They too are facing probes in the Toolkit case.