Delhi Court denies bail to AltNews co-founder Mohammad Zubair

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A Delhi Court on Saturday denied bail to AltNews co-founder Mohammad Zubair accused of hurting religious sentiments following a complaint by a social media user who referred to one of his tweets from 2018. 

The Court of CMM Snigdha Savaria has rejected Zubair's bail application applied through Advocate Vrinda Grover. Grover had argued that Zubair was summoned for an unrelated matter.

Grover further stated that "He was traveling and his phone was seized. No one asked him whether I used this phone for the tweet. He has produced his phone. Is it a crime to format one’s phone?"

Whereas, the Public Prosecutor informed the court that offenses against Foreign Contribution Regulation Act have also been leveled against Zubair.

“After analysing his Call data records, we have found that he has received money from citizens of UAE and other countries,” the Public Prosecutor added.

Grover, challenging the seizure of devices submitted that there is a lot of hue and cry over why he doesn't want to produce electronic devices and what is it that he want to hide.

"The police has to make a prima facie case, only then he is required to produce them. They can’t ask him to produce and then make a case about him", added Grover.

In response, the Public Prosecutor submitted that this is the second bail plea and the said points had been raised in previous plea.

He further submitted that the tweet was posted in 2018, but it is still there.

"If it's there, everyone else is following. It's a continuing offence, not a case where it's deleted", the prosecutor told the court.

The public prosecutor further submitted that donations were received by Zubair from Pakistan and Syria, and the same was mentioned in the CD.

Earlier, Zubair was remanded in police custody for four days and was produced today before a Delhi court. 

Zubair was recently arrested on charges of hurting religious sentiments following a complaint by a social media user who referred to one of his tweets from 2018. 

The police have claimed that an FIR has been filed against Zubair in connection with the complaint under IPC sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups) and 295A (malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings).

Yesterday, the Delhi High Court had issued notice to the Delhi Police on the plea filed by Mohammad Zubair, co-founder of fact checking website Alt News.

A single judge bench of Justice Sanjeev Narula had directed the matter to be heard by the lower court, without prejudice to the pendency of the matter before the High Court.

High Court had also directed the Delhi Police to file its response within two weeks and has asked Zubair to file a rejoinder within one week thereafter. 

Case Title: State vs Mohammad Zubair