Had no bad intentions, went to Red Fort as everyone went there: Deep Sidhu

Actor-activist Deep Sidhu, who was arrested for the violence at the Red Fort on Republic Day, has told police that he had no "bad intentions" and went to the historic monument as everybody was going there, officials said on Wednesday.

The Delhi Police's Crime Branch questioned Sidhu on Wednesday about his whereabouts and acts at the Red Fort on January 26, officials said.

The actor-activist was sent to seven-day police custody on Tuesday by a court here following his arrest a day earlier from Karnal bypass in connection with the violence at the Red Fort.

Sidhu, according to police, was "a prominent player" behind the January 26 incident.

Following his arrest by the Delhi Police, he was handed over to the Crime Branch, which is probing the case in connection with the violence and vandalism at the historic fort.

On first day of police remand, the focus of investigation remained on how Sidhu reached the Red Fort and his activities there on the day of incident, a senior police officer said.

Sidhu initially denied being present at Singhu border on January 25 but after the police presented evidence, he admitted that he was present at the farmers' protest site but slept at a spot a bit away from there.

The actor-activist claimed that when he woke up on January 26, there were two-three missed calls and messages on his mobile phone about people heading to the Red Fort, so he too reached there with his three friends using his mobile phone to navigate.

Sidhu and his friends left Singhu border at around 11 am in a vehicle and after violence broke out at the fort, they fled to Singhu border in the same vehicle and reached there at around 1 pm, he said.

When questioned about his role in the flag hoisting incident at the fort, he denied his involvement and claimed that he did not gather or instigate the crowd, the officer said.

According to the officer, when asked why he went to the Red Fort when it did not figure in the route approved by authorities for the tractor parade, Sidhu claimed that since everybody was going, he too went there but had no "bad intentions".

While on the run, Sidhu kept switching his locations between Haryana and Punjab, police said, adding that the hunt for his three friends is on.

Police are now trying to recover his mobile phone and probing the exact locations where he hid while also verifying whatever he revealed during the interrogation, the officer said.

Police had announced a cash reward of Rs 1 lakh for information leading to Sidhu's arrest.

After the January 26 violence, which had left over 500 security personnel injured and one protester dead, the 36-year-old actor-activist was posting videos on social media.

However, Sidhu's counsel had on Tuesday claimed that he had nothing to do with the violence and was at the wrong place at the wrong time.

The violence took place when tens of thousands of farmers broke barriers to storm the national capital on January 26 during their tractor parade to highlight their demand for repealing the new agri laws.

However, their parade dissolved into unprecedented scenes of anarchy as they fought with police, overturned vehicles and delivered a national insult hoisting a religious flag from the ramparts of the Red Fort, a privilege reserved for India''s tricolour.

Thousands of protesting farmers who reached ITO from the Ghazipur border clashed with police.

Many of them driving tractors reached the Red Fort and entered the monument, where the religious flag was also hoisted. Over 500 police personnel were injured and one protestors died.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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