Mathura Court Quashes UP Police Plea to Interrogate Siddique Kappan Again

The journalist has been jailed since his arrest on October 5, 2020, when he was on his way to report on the Hathras crime.

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Mathura: A Mathura court has dismissed the UP STF’s plea to interrogate Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan about alleged incriminating documents found in his Delhi residence.

Additional District and Sessions Judge Anil Kumar Pandey rejected the Special Task Force plea, saying that the accused cannot be allowed to be interrogated again after the chargesheet in the case has already been filed.

Kappan is at present lodged in judicial custody. Uttar Pradesh police has accused him of instigating unrest after the death of a Dalit teenager in Hathras, who was gang-raped and brutalised, leading to her death.

The Malayalam-language journalist and others were arrested on October 5, 2020, when they were on their way to report on the crime.

They were arrested on the “apprehension of causing a breach of peace” but were later slapped with stringent charges of sedition and violation of the anti-terror law UAPA and Information Technology Act.

On June 17, a Mathura court dropped proceedings on charges related to apprehension of breach of peace against Kappan and three others. Police had failed to complete the inquiry against them in the stipulated six months.

“The prosecution’s request at a stage when the charge-sheet has already been submitted in the court cannot be accepted and merits rejection,” ADSJ Pandey said in his order on August 16.

In its plea to the court, the STF had said Kappan’s Delhi residence was raided on November 11 last year, during which a booklet of the outlawed terror outfit SIMMI with some handwritten remarks on its was found.

The booklet had been sent to the Agra forensic laboratory to match Kappan’s handwriting to the words on the book but the laboratory in its report on June 21 this year has said the two handwritings did not match, the STF’s plea said

“Accordingly, the accused needed to be interrogated about the booklet and the handwritten remarks on it,” it said.

Defence counsel Madhuban Datt Chaturvedi said the STF had sought to interrogate Kappan on an issue forming part of a previously conducted and concluded probe.

It was not about any matter for further or additional investigation, he said.

After filing the charge-sheet in the court, the investigation on any point conducted earlier, cannot be allowed under section 173 (8) of the Criminal Procedure Code, he said.

In December, the Kerala Union of Working Journalists had said that Kappan had been “beaten thrice and subjected to mental torture during custody”.

(With PTI inputs)