New Delhi: The Patiala House court in Delhi on Monday turned down the Delhi Police’s request for five-day custody of 22-year-old climate activist Disha Ravi and instead gave the police one day’s custody in connection with the Greta Thunberg toolkit case.
Seeking a five-day extension of Ravi’s police custody, the Public Prosecutor had argued that the activist had been evasive during interrogation and shifted the blame on the co-accused Shantanu Muluk and Nikita Jacob.
On Friday, the trial court had sent Ravi to judicial custody for three days after her five-day police custody expired.
On Saturday, during a hearing on a bail plea by Ravi, Additional Solicitor General S V Raju, appearing for the Delhi Police, had told the court that the hyperlinks in the toolkit connected people to Khalistani websites that propagate hatred towards India. “This was not just a toolkit. The real plan was to defame India and create unrest here,” he said.
Opposing Ravi’s bail plea, the police alleged that she was preparing the toolkit with those advocating Khalistan. It alleged that Ravi deleted WhatsApp chats, emails and other evidence and was aware of legal action that she could face.
Responding to the allegations, the climate activist’s counsel Siddharth Agarwal had told the Delhi court that “if highlighting farmers’ protest globally is sedition, she is better in jail.”
Ravi’s counsel further claimed that there is no evidence linking the toolkit to the violence during the farmers’ march on January 26. He also questioned the contents of the FIR.
“We all have different opinions. You may have a problem with farmers’ protest, I may not. If highlighting protest globally is sedition, I (Ravi) am better in jail. I (defence counsel) also support farmers. But if that’s an offence, let’s all go to jail,” defence counsel Sidharth Agarwal said.
The Delhi Police had argued that the 22-year-old needs to be thoroughly investigated as “she was aware of the criminality of her actions”. The police told the court that the investigation will reveal the “sinister design to defame India”.
The court has reserved the order on Disha’s bail plea for February 23.
Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana had posed some scathing questions to the probe agency during the hearing on Ravi’s plea, asking it if it was only acting on “surmises, inferences, and conjectures” and questioned how the toolkit was connected to the violence during the farmers’ march.
“…Unless I satisfy my conscience, I don’t move ahead,” the judge had said.
Ravi was arrested by a Cyber Cell team of the Delhi Police from Bengaluru on Saturday in connection with the toolkit backing the farmers’ agitation. The police have claimed that she had sent the toolkit to Thunberg through the Telegram app, and also “coaxed her to act on it”.
The Delhi Police has alleged that Ravi was the “key conspirator” in the formulation and dissemination of the document and that she collaborated with pro-Khalistani group Poetic Justice Foundation to “spread disaffection against Indian state” and also shared the doc with Thunberg.