Toolkit case: Climate activist Disha Ravi released on bail

Activist booked on sedition and other charges released after she was 'confronted' with her co-accused Nikita Jacob and Shantanu Muluk at the Delhi Police Cyber Cell office. No reason to keep 22-year-old in custody, said Judge

Disha Ravi
Protests against the arrest of climate activist Disha Ravi were held across the country File Photo: PTI

A sessions court in Delhi released climate activist Disha Ravi, 22, the alleged “key conspirator” in the formulation and dissemination of the toolkit reportedly used to help the ongoing farmers’ agitation, on bail on Tuesday (February 23).

Disha Ravi was released on bail subject to provision of two sureties of ₹ 1 lakh each.

“Considering the scanty and sketchy evidence on record, I do not find any palpable reason to breach the rule of bail for a 22-year-old girl, who has absolutely no criminal antecedent,” Additional Sessions Judge Dharmendra Rana said in his bail order.

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Bengaluru-based Disha Annappa Ravi is one of the three accused, along with Nikita Jacob and Shantanu Muluk, who have been booked for sedition and other charges in the case. On Monday (February 22), the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Pankaj Sharma had remanded Ravi to police custody for one day, after she was produced in court at the expiry of her three-day judicial custody.

Also read: Toolkit case: Delhi court sends Disha Ravi to one-day police custody

The police had told the magistrate that they required Ravi for one more day to allow her to be confronted with the co-accused. Sharma had allowed her custodial interrogation stating that Ravi’s confrontation with her co-accused was necessary, as “the role played by each of them in deletion of the original toolkit would come to light, which is very necessary for a fair investigation”.

He had also observed, however, that while the case against the activist involved “allegations to spread hatred, disaffection” to “undermine India’s sovereignty”, “a balance must be struck with the individual’s right”. Her remand ended today.

Earlier in the day, Ravi was brought to the Delhi Police Cyber Cell office to be confronted with Jacob and Muluk. The police had alleged that the “toolkit” was part of a global conspiracy to create unrest and trigger violence in India in the garb of the farmers’ protest against the farm laws. The police alleged that the online document was created to defame India and spread misinformation among people.

Both had secured transit bail from the Bombay High Court, giving them protection from arrest. Muluk, had also moved a Delhi court seeking anticipatory bail. The application moved by Muluk is likely to come up for hearing on Wednesday before Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana.

Also read: As Disha Ravi seeks bail, police accuse her of defaming India, army

The public prosecutor claimed that during questioning, Ravi, 22, had “shifted all the burden onto the co-accused”. Police also said Jacob and Muluk had joined the investigation only on Monday and they had not had “much time” to question them.

Young activist Ravi was arrested on February 13 along with two other activists in connection with a toolkit that the Delhi Police allege was sent to Swedish activist Greta Thunberg through the Telegram app. The police made serious allegations about Ravi, that she is the key mover behind the formulation and dissemination of the document (toolkit) and that she collaborated with with pro-Khalistani group Poetic Justice Foundation to “spread disaffection” against the Indian state.

Ravi was the one who sent Thunberg the toolkit and also “coaxed her to act on it”. The activist used to volunteer for Thunberg’s Fridays for Future (FFF) organisation in Bengaluru. Rejecting the allegations of instigating violence, Ravi’s counsel had said during the court hearing on February 21: “The toolkit says that people should join the march of Republic Day. Police gave permission for the march and if I call people to join the march, then can I be called seditious?”

 

 

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