Mohammed Zubair was arrested by the Delhi Police on June 27 for allegedly hurting religious sentiments.
A message to media from a Delhi police officer saying that fact-checker Mohammed Zubair has been denied led to a controversy on Saturday afternoon, as the court is scheduled to pronounce any order only after 4pm.
“It is extremely scandalous and speaks volume of rule of law in the country that even before the judge has sat, police has leaked to media,” Mr Zubair’s lawyer, Soutik Banerjee, told the media.
Mr Zubair, a co-founder of fact-checking site Alt News who was arrested over a four-year-old tweet, was in police custody for the past five days. His application for bail came up in Delhi’s Patiala House court. The arguments were completed but the judge is yet to give any order; though a deputy commissioner of police sent a message to journalists that bail has been denied.
The police told the court during the hearing that they have added fresh charges against Mr Zubair, in addition to those for allegedly hurting religious sentiments. The fresh charges are for criminal conspiracy and destruction of evidence under the Indian Penal Code, and sections of the FCRA or Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act.
“Criminal conspiracy and destruction of evidence charges added to the FIR along with Section 35 of the FCRA,” the Delhi Police told Delhi’s Patiala House court.
With criminal conspiracy added to the FIR, the Enforcement Directorate can step in for money laundering probe.
Mohammed Zubair was arrested by the Delhi Police on June 27 for allegedly hurting religious sentiments through one of his tweets and was sent to one-day police custody by the trial court on the same day.
Mr Zubair’s was arrested just days after he flagged a video of suspended BJP leader Nupur Sharma’s remarks against Prophet Mohammed on a TV show.
Police said the case was registered on the complaint of a Twitter user who accused him of hurting religious sentiments.
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