India: Journalist Mohammad Zubair moves sessions court seeking bail

An FIR was registered against him about an alleged objectionable tweet


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Published: Mon 11 Jul 2022, 5:49 PM

Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair on Monday moved a bail petition in Sessions Court seeking bail in the Delhi FIR registered against him in a case related to an alleged objectionable tweet.

Additional session Judge Devender Kumar Jangala of Patiala House Court is scheduled to hear his bail petition on Tuesday.

On July 2, 2022, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) refused to grant bail while sending him to 14-days of judicial custody.

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Snigdha Sarvaria dismissed the bail petition after hearing the submission of the defence counsel and special public prosecutor (SPP) Atul Srivastava for Delhi.

The court observed in the order that since the investigation is at the initial stage and in view of the circumstances and gravity of the offence, no ground is made out for bail. Application dismissed and the accused is remanded to judicial custody till July 16, 2022.

Zubair was booked by Delhi Police under sections 153A (promotion of enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language) and 295A (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Delhi Police said.

Delhi Police had also added three new Sections - 201 (for the destruction of evidence - formatted phone and deleted tweets), 120-(B) (for criminal conspiracy) of IPC and 35 of Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010, in the matter.

The FIR against Zubair was lodged on June 20 based on the complaint filed by the Duty Officer of the IFSO unit of the Delhi Police Special Cell which tackles cyber crimes.

Zubair was arrested and sent to one day of police custody after a First Information Report (FIR) was registered against him based on a Twitter posting, which another Twitter handle alleged "hurt Hindu sentiments."

Delhi Police said that Zubair was evasive during questioning and did not cooperate in the investigation.

Meanwhile, a sessions court in Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh on Monday sent Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair to judicial custody for 14 days.

The warrant was issued against him in Lakhimpur Kheri's Mohammadi, in a case registered against him in September 2021, after a complaint was filed by a Sudarshan News employee for a fact check tweet. The session court is expected to hear his bail plea on July 13.

Last week, the Supreme Court granted five days' interim bail to the Alt News co-founder in a case registered in Sitapur in Uttar Pradesh for hurting religious sentiments through a tweet.Justices Indira Banerjee and JK Maheshwari granted interim bail to Zubair in a plea challenging the Allahabad High Court order refusing to quash FIR registered for a tweet in which he allegedly called three Hindu religious leaders "hate mongers".

The interim bail to Zubair was granted for 5 days on the condition that he will not post any fresh tweets on the issue related to the case and not leave the jurisdiction of the Sitapur Magistrate's court.

Zubair had approached the top court challenging the Allahabad High Court's June 10 order where it had refused to quash an FIR registered against him in Sitapur stating that it was premature to interfere when the investigation was at a preliminary stage.


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