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Delhi Police Adds Criminal Conspiracy, Evidence Destruction and FCRA Charges to FIR Against Zubair

The fresh charges were mentioned by the Delhi Police while it produced the fact-checker at the Patiala House court.

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New Delhi: The Delhi Police on Saturday (July 2) modified the FIR filed against journalist and Alt News cofounder Mohammed Zubair to add several new sections, including criminal conspiracy, destruction of evidence and Section 35 of the Foreign Contributions (Regulation) Act. These charges allow the Enforcement Directorate to enter the probe.

The fresh charges were mentioned by the Delhi Police while it produced the fact-checker at the Patiala House court, NDTV reported. “Criminal conspiracy and destruction of evidence charges added to the FIR along with Section 35 of the FCRA,” the police was quoted as saying.

The police also sought 14-day judicial custody of Zubair.

The journalist was earlier arrested under sections 153 (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, language, etc.) and 295 (deliberate and malicious act intended to outrage religious feelings) of the Indian Penal Code.

Also read: ‘Courts Should Compensate Wrongfully Arrested Persons’: Justice Deepak Gupta

Zubair was arrested on June 27 in relation to a 2018 tweet featuring a screenshot from a movie made in 1983, Kissi Se Na Kehna. The arrest was made following a complaint tweet by an anonymous account going by the handle @balajikijaiin. The account now longer exists, but an investigation by The Wire has found that the arrest is the culmination of a years-long campaign by a network of anonymous and inauthentic accounts linked to Vikash Ahir, state president of the Hindu Yuva Vahini (HYV) and co-convenor of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) in Gujarat.

The fact-checker’s arrest and the case against him have been widely criticised within and outside India, particularly since it was made clear that his tweet was simply a screenshot from a mainstream movie.