Toolkit case: Lawyer, green activist move Bombay HC for transit bail

Bombay High Court

An advocate and an environmental activist on Monday moved the Bombay High Court seeking transit anticipatory bail after they were named as suspects in a case filed by the Delhi police with regard to the "toolkit" shared by climate activist Greta Thunberg over the farmers' protest.

Advocate Nikita Jacob and environmental activist Shantanu Muluk, both Maharashtra residents, filed separate pleas in the HC, which will hear them on Tuesday, after a Delhi court issued non-bailable warrants against them in the case.

According to the Delhi police, the duo was allegedly involved in preparing the document and was in direct touch with "pro-Khalistani elements".

While Jacobs plea was filed in the principal HC seat in Mumbai, Muluk, a resident of Beed district in central Maharashtra, submitted his application in the Aurangabad bench of the High Court.

Jacob's plea seeking urgent hearing was mentioned before the Bombay HC's single bench of Justice P D Naik on Monday. The HC said it would hear her plea on Tuesday.

Muluk's plea was mentioned before Justice Vibha Kankanvadi of the Aurangabad bench and his application would also be heard on Tuesday.

Both the pleas sought transit anticipatory bail for a period of four weeks so that the applicants (Jacob and Muluk) can approach the court concerned in Delhi to apply for pre- arrest bail.

Jacob and Muluk, in their pleas, have claimed they are targets of political vendetta.

 

Jacob, in her plea, said she is unaware whether she has been named as an accused or a witness in the case.

"However, the applicant (Jacob) fears that she may be arrested due to political vendetta and media trial," her application said.

Muluk, in his plea filed through advocate Satej Jadhav, said he and others are not actual dissenters but have only come out in support of farmers agitating on Delhi borders for more than two months now against the Centre's new agri- marketing laws.

Vendetta has tricked down from politics to the house of a common man making a mockery of the rights and principles enshrined in the Constitution of India, the application said.

Jacob, in her plea, said the FIR registered in the case was "false and baseless" and that she has already cooperated with the cyber cell of the Delhi police and recorded her statement.

"Some entity named Legal Rights Observatory appears to have filed a false and baseless complaint with the Delhi police and seeks to pin the blame for violence on January 26, 2021 (during tractor rally in Delhi) upon the applicant as well," the plea said.

As per the application, on February 11, a team of Delhi police came to Jacob's house in Goregaon area of Mumbai with a search warrant and seized documents and electronic gadgets.

"The applicant has no religious, political or financial motive or agenda for researching, discussing, editing and circulating communication packs/toolkits for raising awareness, let alone to incite violence, riots and/or cause any other physical harm," the application said.

It said Jacob was a practising advocate in the Bombay High Court who volunteers for environmental causes.

"The applicant was deeply concerned about the recent farm laws and villainising of farmers," the application said.

It said Jacob's personal information and details are being circulated on social media.

The application further said "absolute lies" are being spread to incite hate and violence against Jacob by claiming she has ties with political parties like the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

Muluk, in his application, said he and his colleagues are innocent and at the most have been kept in the dark by one notorious stake holder, but that cannot take away the bonafide intentions of the applicant.

The Delhi police on Saturday arrested 21-year-old environmental activist Disha Ravi from Bengaluru in connection with the case.

She was on Sunday produced before a Delhi court which remanded her in police custody for five days.

The Delhi case stems from the "toolkit" shared by Thunberg, the Swedish teenage climate activist, to lend her support to the protesting farmers.

Thousands of farmers protesting the new agri laws clashed with the police during their tractor parade on January 26.

Earlier, the Delhi police had asked Google and some social media giants to provide information about e-mail ID, URLs and certain social media accounts related to creators of the "toolkit" shared by Thunberg and others on Twitter in connection with the farmers' protest.



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