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[Office Raids] Advocate Mehmood Pracha Alleges Manipulation Of Case Records By Authorities, Arguments On April 13

Nupur Thapliyal
7 April 2021 10:29 AM GMT
[Office Raids] Advocate Mehmood Pracha Alleges Manipulation Of Case Records By Authorities, Arguments On April 13
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A Delhi Court on Wednesday heard an application filed by Advocate Mehmood Pracha for early hearing seeking preponement of date in the matter concerning Delhi Police Special Cell's raids in his office. While moving the said application, he had alleged that the Special Cell has allegedly manipulated the case files in the instant matter.

The allegations came in view of a previous hearing dated 5th April wherein the Special Public Prosecutor, Amit Prasad had appeared before the Court along with the Inspector at 2 PM. In view of the case files not present in the Court and due to absence of Advocate Mehmood Pracha, the matter was adjourned for 25th April.

It was the contention of Advocate Pracha that the said case files were being manipulated by the Special Cell and that they were allegedly missing since day one.

"I will show example by example how they manipulate case files. These files can be manipulated even by one phone call. These things must be investigated. Files are missing since day 1.How is this a coincidence that everytime I am at the receiving end. All these things will be clear after the investigation. FIR must be filed against you." Advocate Pracha argued before the Court.

On the other hand, it was argued on behalf of SPP Amit Prasad that:

"He doesn't know how to maintain decorum in court. My suggestion is that there are cctv cameras in the branch. If we have not done something then why should we face such statements that are coming. Merely making statements in air will not help. We didn't go for the rally on the date of hearing. It was he who made a choice. He wanted to be present in rally and not in court, to give preference to a rally than to court. Incidentally I came to court and realised file is not there. I am ready to argue if the file is here. But why make these baseless allegations? The court has to step in somewhere. What is prima facie proof that we have manipulated the files?"

Noting the submissions made by the parties, the Court listed the matter for arguments on the application on 13th April.

"Applicant submits that the same fact may be enquired. The SPP submits that on 5th April he appeared along with Inspector at 2 PM under bona fide belief that matter would be heard at 2 PM. The file was also not in the court as same was in CA record. And when none appeared on behalf of Applicant, after some time, matter was adjourned for 25th April. On 5th April while SPP and Inspector appeared before court at 2PM, the file was not in court. As a matter of routine practice, the matters where arguments are to be addressed are kept at 2 PM and only where orders have to be pronounced, same are kept at 4 PM. Never this court kept any matter for arguments at 4 pm and it appears that previous order sheet shows 4 pm due to typo error. Application is allowed, matter be fixed for arguments on 13 th April at 2PM. Previous order stands cancelled." The Court ordered.

In view of this, the Court also ordered the Copy of FIR to be supplied to the Applicant, Advocate Mehmood Pracha.

It is pertinent to note that vide order dated 27th March, ASJ Dharmender Rana appointed the youngest counsel in the Court to be the local commissioner under whose supervision the process of seizing and sealing of the computer source from Pracha's office will be undertaken by the IO in the matter.

Background

Advocate Mehmood Pracha moved the application against the second raid conducted by the Special Cell in his office on 9th March, thereby calling the whole exercise as "completely illegal and unjustified". Pracha has been representing many accused persons in the Delhi Riots conspiracy cases that broke out in February last year.

While alleging that the sole objective of conducting the second raid was to illegally steal the entire data of the sensitive cases he has been dealing with, Pracha in his application contended that he is going to the extent of risking self-implication even in derogation of his Fundamental Right only for the sake of protecting the data and information pertaining to his clients and briefs which he is duty bound to protect as an advocate.

During the previous proceedings, Advocate Pracha had submitted in the Court that:

"It is my fundamental and constitutional right to protect the interest of my clients. To save their integrity. They have deliberately put my and my clients life under threat. This is also sensitive data. They want to act under their political masters. I cannot give such data. If you want to hang me, do it. But I cannot sacrifice my attorney privilege communication."

"I am offering my neck to save my clients life. I am willing to face Gallows for protecting my clients life. I am ready to be the lamb. Tell your political masters to hang me. But I will not let them harm my life. Come what may." Advocate Mehmood Pracha had submitted.

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