[Hathras conspiracy] Case Against Kappan and others shifted to NIA court in Lucknow

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A local Court in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh has transferred the case against Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan and seven others in the alleged Hathras conspiracy to a special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in Lucknow.

This development has taken place following prosecution's application before the Mathura Court stating that since the Lucknow NIA court has now been designated as the UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act) court for the state, therefore, Kappan and others' case in the present matter should be transferred there only.

The Uttar Pradesh government on April 20, 2021, designated a Lucknow Court as a special NIA Court as the State didn't have one earlier and section 22(4) of the NIA Act provides that on and from the date when the Special Court is constituted by the State Government for trying NIA cases, the trial of all such cases , shall stand transferred to that Court.

Kappan and others are facing charges under Sections 17 and 18 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), section 124-A  (sedition), sections 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion), section 295A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings) of Indian Penal Code and section 65, 72 and 75 of the Information Technology  Act.

Along with three others (Atiq-ur-Rehman, Masood Ahmed and Alam ), Kappan was arrested on 5 October 2020 under charges related to apprehension of breach of peace when he was on his way to Hathras, Uttar Pradesh to meet the family of the victim of the alleged Hathras rape and murder case. Subsequently, he was booked under UAPA and sedition laws too. All the accused have been in judicial custody since then. 

On July 6, 2021, Kappan's bail plea also got rejected by the Mathura Court on the merits of the case.

Rejecting the bail, the court had primarily taken into account the finding of the police investigation that the literature and material related to SIMI was found in Kappan’s laptop, besides the contact details of some SIMI members. The court had also taken note of two financial transactions in Kappan’s bank account which showed that he was provided with the funds to conduct ‘anti-national’ and ‘illegal activities’.

Case Title: State v. Atiq-ur-Rehman etc.