Climate activist Disha Ravi, arrested in the toolkit case, has been sent to three-day judicial custody. The police had presented her before the Patiala House Court on Friday to seek her custody saying she would be confronted with the co-accused in the case.
The co-accused — Mumbai-based lawyer Nikita Jacob and Pune engineer Shantanu Muluk — are currently under protective bail. The Delhi Police have accused the trio of creating the toolkit which was shared on Twitter by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.
Earlier in the day, Delhi High Court said the police would be entitled to hold press briefings in connection to the ‘toolkit’ case, while hearing Ravi’s plea to restrain cops from leaking to the media any probe material in relation to the FIR lodged against her.
The high court also said some news coverage of the investigation that Ravi is facing for her alleged involvement in sharing the toolkit on farmers’ protest indicates “sensationalism and prejudicial reporting.” But it declined to order removal of any such content at this stage and said the interim plea for removal of such content would be considered at a later stage.
The court asked media houses to ensure that no leaked investigation material is broadcast as it could affect the probe and directed Delhi Police to abide by its stand on affidavit that it has not leaked nor intends to leak any probe details to the press.
The court said police would be entitled to hold press briefings in the matter in accordance with the law and the agency’s 2010 office memorandum with regard to media coverage of cases. The police also termed the plea as an attempt to malign the police force and hamper the investigation.
On the plea seeking to restrain leaking of probe material, police had categorically denied any leakage. The police assured the court it has no intention of leaking any information to the media, but said the possibility of leakage by some officer of the agency cannot be ruled out entirely. The court, however, directed that the police has to abide by its affidavit.
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To media houses, the court said they should publicise only authentic and verified content and ensure that the investigation is not hampered.
Ravi’s plea also sought to restrain the media from publishing the content or extract of any private chats, including those on WhatsApp, between her and third parties. Media houses told the court the source of information in this case was the Delhi Police and its tweets.
Ravi’s plea said she is “severely aggrieved and prejudiced by the media trial surrounding her arrest and the ongoing investigation, where she is being viscerally attacked by the respondent 1 (police) and several media houses.” She alleged investigative matters were leaked to the media and the press briefings by the police are “prejudicial”.
It has claimed that the police first “leaked investigative material” — like alleged WhatsApp chats — the substance and details of which were only in the possession of the investigating agency. Thereafter, the “private alleged WhatsApp chats” were published and disseminated by various media houses which was a violation of the provisions of the law.
The Delhi Police is probing the “toolkit Google doc” backing the farmers’ agitation shared by Thunberg. It arrested Ravi while Jacob and Muluk have been granted pre-arrest bail by a court. Police have alleged pro-Khalistan links behind the creation of the toolkit.
A toolkit, which is a document created to explain any issue, provides information on what one needs to do to address the issue and might even include information about petitions, details about protests and mass movements.
(With inputs from agencies)