Mathura court rejects Siddique Kappan’s bail plea
A Mathura court on Tuesday rejected the bail plea of journalist Siddique Kappan, in jail for eight months for alleged sedition and terror funding, saying that the charges against him were serious.
One of the charges is that “Rs 20,000 and Rs 25,000 had been deposited in the bank account of the accused on different dates for illegal activities”.
Anil Kumar Pandey, the additional sessions judge, said on the second day of the hearing that Kappan was free to move Allahabad High Court.
Kappan was arrested on October 5 along with three suspected members of the Popular Front of India (PFI) while he was on his way to Hathras in Uttar Pradesh to report on the gang rape and murder of a Dalit teen for a Malayalam news portal to which he contributes.
Madhuvan Dutt Chaturvedi, counsel for Kappan, told The Telegraph: “The bail plea was rejected without taking into consideration the arguments in support of Kappan. There is no proof that he is a member of the Popular Front of India. In any case, the PFI is not a banned organisation.”
“The entire case was built around his identity as a PFI member,” Chaturvedi said.
The PFI describes itself as a “neo-social movement” for empowering marginalised sections but opponents view it as an Islamist organisation with a hardline agenda.
“The court rejected the bail application while observing that the charges were serious,” Chaturvedi said.
The court order said: “The accused had said he was a journalist and was going to Hathras for journalistic work. But an identity card mentioning Tejas News was recovered from him at the time of his arrest. It has been stated that Tejas News was closed in December 2018.”
“It was found during the investigation that the accused had been working for the PFI and working on the direction of the PFI to instigate communal/class conflict. It was found that he was involved in anti-national activities…. Write-ups recovered from the laptop of the accused… were found to be provoking communal hatred. The accused was found involved in illegal activities on the pretext of journalism.
“It was also found that the accused belongs to the PFI and is a member of a terrorist group that receives funds from within the country and abroad and is involved in disturbing the country’s integrity and communal harmony,” the court added.
“Some literature of the banned organisation Simi was found from his residence in Delhi during a raid. He was found in touch with the top leaders of Simi. It was found that Rs 20,000 and Rs 25,000 had been deposited in the bank account of the accused on different dates for illegal activities…. The co-accused have already been denied bail in the case by the sessions court.
“So going by the facts, situations and seriousness of the case, I don’t find a valid reason to release the accused on bail,” the court said.
Last month, the court of the divisional district magistrate of Mathura had discharged Kappan and three others in a case relating to breach of peace.
Uttar Pradesh police had lodged a case in the court of the sub-divisional magistrate on October 5 under Section 116(6) of the CrPC, accusing Kappan and the three others of travelling to Hathras with the motive of breaching peace.
On October 7, a second case was lodged against them under UAPA Sections 17 (raising funds for terrorist act) and 18 (conspiracy) and Indian Penal Code Sections 124A (sedition), 153A (promoting enmity between groups), 295A (malicious acts to outrage religious feelings) and 120B (criminal conspiracy). Sections 65 and 72 of the Information Technology Act, 2000, dealing with tampering of computer sources and breach of confidentiality and privacy were also slapped against them.
This case is being heard by the additional sessions court that denied bail to Kappan on Tuesday.