The Delhi Police arrested Punjabi Actor Deep Sidhu a day after he was granted bail by a Delhi court in connection with the violence at the Red Fort on Republic day earlier today. The arrest came on the basis of a separate FIR filed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), it handles the Red Fort, describing in detail on how the mob broke into the national monument caused damage and ransacked the fort complex office.
A Delhi Court on Friday had granted Sidhu bail subject to the furnishing of a personal bond with two local sureties of Rs 30,000 each. Sidhu was arrested on February 9 in connection with the violence at Delhi's iconic Red Fort earlier this year on Republic Day.
The court observed that Sidhu was not being penalized for asserting his fundamental right to protest, dissent and free speech, rather, he was accused of specifically breaching an embargo on several conditions the police had put in place while allowing the tractor rally on Republic Day.
The police have accused Sidhu of the violence perpetrated at the Red Fort, the damage to a national Heritage Site, and the nuisance created at a restricted site, the court order said.
On January 26, violence erupted in the national capital after farmers protesting the government's three farm laws clashed with the Delhi Police. A section of farmers had breached the ramparts of the Red Fort and hoisted a religious flag there. A protesting farmer also reportedly died near ITO at the tractor rally organised by the farmers.
Prosecution seeks to make an example of Sidhu: Court
"The prosecution seeks to make an example out of the case of the accused-applicant (Sidhu), he being a popular public figure, such an endeavour, however, hazards a failure of justice as a result of compromised objectivity," the court observed. "The facts of the matter, the specific allegations cannot be lost sight of and nature of incriminating material cannot be disregarded at any cost," the court added.
At this stage it is pertinent that the specific roles ascribed to Sidhu in the entire incident that unfolded on January 26 is his presence at the Red Fort; being part of an unlawful assembly while other members of this assembly hoisted the religious flag atop on the ramparts of the Red Fort; and raising religious slogans.
The court noted that it was the prosecution's job to establish the accusations it was making by collecting cogent material and leading credible evidence during the course of the trial. The trial court would then assess and appreciate the evidence to determine Sidhu's culpability in the entire incident.
Further custody not justifiable: Court
The police have already seized clothes Sidhu wore on the day in question, and the vehicle in which he travelled from Murthal, Haryana to Red Fort in Delhi, the court said. Sidhu's speeches at the farmers' rally, recorded interviews, and content containing religious slogans raised are all posted on social media websites. Thus, further custody to simply obtain voice samples is not justifiable.
The prosecution's case largely depends on video recordings and footage available and accessible to all on social media sites in the public domain, therefore there is a remote possibility that Sidhu would be able to tamper with evidence.
Must assist with the investigation and other bail conditions
The court directed Sidhu to deposit his passport with the Investigating Officer (IO) as part of his bail condition. Sidhu has to give the mobile number which he will use and that number is supposed to be activated and on at all times. The location setting is also supposed to be "On" and periodically shared with the IO. Sidhu also has to confirm his location with the IO on the first and the 15th of each calendar month.
The court noted that there was a remote possibility that Sidhu would tamper with video recordings and footage which allegedly show of the alleged incidents which are on social media sites and form the basis of the prosecution case.
Regular bail conditions like joining the investigation when called upon; appearing before the trial court on every date of his hearing; and not influencing, threatening, intimidating witnesses or tampering with evidence also apply.
Updated On: 2021-04-17T17:50:03+05:30