New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday adjourned the bail plea hearing of JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar, arrested on sedition charges, till February 29 after Delhi Police said it will seek his fresh remand to “unearth any larger conspiracy”.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta, appearing for Delhi Police, told Justice Pratibha Rani that they were moving a remand application to seek Kanhaiya’s police custody for the third time, to confront him with fellow Jawaharlal Nehru University students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya who surrendered on Tuesday night.
Mehta said the police remand of Kanhaiya, who is currently in judicial custody till March 2, is required to confront him with Khalid and Anirban and “unearth any larger conspiracy”.
The court deferred the hearing till February 29 after Kanhaiya’s advocates Kapil Sibal and Rebecca John asked the court to postpone the hearing as they will oppose the police remand application.
“Since two JNU students surrendered last (Tuesday) night, we need to confront them with Kanhaiya,” ASG Mehta said.
Allowing police to move the remand application before the concerned court, Justice Pratibha Rani said: “We have to ensure that they don’t suffer any scratch, that’s my only concern.”
Delhi Police opposed the bail plea of Kanhaiya and submitted a status report to the court.
If Kanhaiya is released on bail, “he may create law and order problems by conducting meetings in his support, hampering arrest of other accused people”, said police.
Kanhaiya “did not cooperate at all during the course of the interrogation”, they said.
The report also said Delhi Police was looking into the “linkage between Kanhaiya and some foreign elements with their mouths covered” who were present during the February 9 event at the university.
Kanhaiya was arrested in a sedition case on February 12 after the event held on the university campus against the execution of parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. He allegedly shouted anti-India slogans at the event.
Khalid and Anirban, along with three others, had gone missing from the JNU campus since February 12 when Kanhaiya was arrested. They surrendered on Tuesday night.
The police report said Kanhaiya, if released on bail, “may influence the witnesses and also hamper the investigation”.
“It would send a wrong signal to the students community across the country that such anti-India activities can be conducted with immunity.”
“He (Kanhaiya) may become the rallying point to encourage such anti-India movements which would not only spread disaffection but would also be contemptuous since the conviction recorded by the Supreme Court is being termed judicial killing,” the report stated.
Delhi Police further said: “It is an open secret that the aforesaid conduct of holding an event on February 9 has not only ramifications within India, it has an international impact as well.”
During the hearing, Justice Pratibha Rani made it clear that police have the statutory right to seek remand of Kanhaiya till February 27.
An accused may be held in police custody for a period of normally not more than 14 days.
As Kanhaiya was arrested on February 12, Delhi Police has the statutory right to seek remand before the expiry of the 14-day period, police said.
ASG Mehta told the court that Delhi Police will ensure safety of lawyers and the accused in the case.
Security was beefed up inside and outside the court room during the hearing.
The entry to the courtroom of Justice Pratibha Rani was restricted to lawyers involved in the case and a few media persons.
The high court posted the matter for February 29.