JNU sedition case: Court enquires how police filed chargesheet without approval

New Delhi: A Delhi court on Saturday pulled up Delhi Police in the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) sedition case for filing a chargesheet without legal approval to which the police has replied that it will procure the requisite sanction within 10 days.

The court said, “You do not have approval from the legal department, why did you file chargesheet without approval?” The Delhi Police has assured the court of obtaining the legal approval before the February 6, the next date for hearing of the case.

Delhi Police on January 15 claimed to have recovered communication between the former JNU Students’ Union president Kanhaiya Kumar and his associate Umar Khalid besides video footage as “evidence” that they were part of a group of students who raised anti-national slogans on the JNU campus on February 9, 2016 during an event to commemorate the hanging of the 2002 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.

In the chargesheet filed in court on January 14, this year, Delhi Police said it has video footage where Kumar is “seen leading the students who were raising anti-national slogans” and that he had been identified by the witnesses in the videos.

“The location of mobile phone at the place of occurrence” was also cited as evidence against Kumar in the 1200-page chargesheet.

The police said the Forensic Science Laboratory had retrieved an SMS sent by Khalid to Kumar, asking him to “arrive at Sabarmati Dhaba, JNU, as their permission had been cancelled by the JNU administration.”

A pamphlet of the event, which cited Khalid, Kumar and Anirban Bhattacharya as the organisers of the February 9, 2016 event was also recovered from Khalid’s e-mail, the chargesheet said.

The Delhi Police chargesheet names Kumar, Khalid, Bhattacharya and 7 other students – Aquib Hussain, Mujeeb Hussain, Muneeb Hussain, Umar Gul, Rayeea Rasool and Bashir Bhat. They have been charged with sedition and various other serious crimes.

The chargesheet also cites a senior security official of the varsity confirming that there was a gathering of 15-20 students who raised anti-national slogans and also confirmed the presence of Kumar during the protest. It said the presence of Kashmiri Students also was confirmed and that they were in contact with student leader Umar Khalid.

Communist Party of India (CPI) leader D Raja’s daughter Aparajita Raja and former JNU vice-president Shehla Rashid are also named in the chargesheet.