The Delhi High Court on Monday came down heavily on police over a vigilance inquiry report filed after a Jamia Millia Islamia student – arrested in May in a case linked to last year’s riots in the national capital – said his confessional statement was leaked to media. Asif Iqbal Tanha had petitioned the court and alleged media trial.
“Half-baked”, “useless piece of information” were the words used by the court to reprimand the police. “This vigilance inquiry is even worse than what they do in an ordinary inquiry in a petty theft case. These are not files sent through couriers, these are hand-held files,” Justice Mukta Gupta said.
Last year, Asif Iqbal Tanha, 24, had said that his statement of confession to police, which is not admissible in court and cannot be treated as an evidence, was leaked to media and he was misrepresented.
Responding to the plea, the court had sought a reply from Delhi Police and a news channel. To this, Delhi Police said it had shared the report only with the state government and Home Ministry.
“These are senior IAS officers. Where did you do the inquiry, who did you inquire of? Where were the files sent? Who took them to the Delhi government and MHA and who brought them back… there is nothing in the report. It is completely silent. These are not documents lying on road,” the court said in a sharp retort.
“The vigilance inquiry report says that the allegations were unsubstantiated. No, the allegations were substantiated. You were to find out who did it,” the judge said.
Lawyer Siddharth Aggarwal, appearing for Mr Tanha, said the objective of the broadcast by the news channel was to “malign” him.
Delhi Police, however, told the court it was “equally aggrieved” by the leakage of information and that it was undesirable. “It was not just undesirable, it was prejudicial to the accused and these things need to be controlled for fairness to the accused and purity of the investigation,” the court said.
The court has asked Delhi Police’s Special Commissioner of vigilance to attend the next hearing on Friday.
Last year, more than 50 people were killed after clashes broke out between those supporting the contentious Citizenship law and opposing it in February.
Mr Tanha, a member of the Students Islamic Organization, and was part of the Jamia Coordination Committee which spearheaded protests against the new citizenship law, police had said earlier.
He was arrested in May under the anti-terror law – UAPA.