The police told the Delhi High Court on Thursday that the information about disclosure statement of Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) student, who was arrested in a case related to communal violence in north east Delhi during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in February, was not leaked by its officials.
Justice Vibhu Bakhru was informed by Deputy Commissioner of Police (special cell) in an affidavit that Delhi Police was also aggrieved by the newspaper report in which the alleged confessional statement of JMI university student Asif Iqbal Tanha was leaked.
The police affidavit, filed through advocates Amit Mahajan and Rajat Nair, also stated that none of the officials involved in the investigation of the case leaked the information to the media.
After perusing the affidavit, the high court asked the counsel for Zee News to disclose the source of the statement.
"You have shown the disclosure statement on national TV. Police say it has not released it, so from where did you get it," the judge asked.
To this, advocate Vijay Aggarwal, appearing for Zee News, said he will take instructions on the issue.
The court directed the media house to file an affidavit clearly disclosing the source of the statement and listed the matter for further hearing on October 19.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Facebook, submitted that it has role in the matter.
The high court was hearing the plea by Tanha alleging misconduct by police officials in leaking his disclosure statement, recorded by the probe agency during the investigation, to the media.
It had earlier asked two media houses and two social media platforms to respond to the plea which also sought direction to take down the sensitive/ confidential information leaked to them by the officials of Delhi Police.
The court had also refused to pass an ex-parte order directing the media houses, Zee News and OpIndia and social networking platforms Facebook and YouTube to remove the content and had said that it will pass necessary orders after hearing all the parties.
Tanha, in his petition through advocate Siddharth Aggarwal, said he was aggrieved by various publications reporting that he has confessed to orchestrating the Delhi riots and alleged that he was coerced to sign certain papers in the effective custody of police.
It said this information does not have any evidentiary value and alleged that the Delhi Police officials, with mala fide intention, leaked the statements to the media to prejudice his case.
Tanha, who was arrested in May, is currently lodged in judicial custody in the Delhi riots case.
Tanha, a third-year student of BA in Persian language, was earlier arrested in connection with the violence in the Jamia area during a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in December last year.
The police had said that Tanha, a resident of Abul Fazal Enclave in Shaheen Bagh, was a member of the Students Islamic Organization and was part of the Jamia Coordination Committee which spearheaded protests against the new citizenship law.
"Tanha is a key member of the Jamia Coordination Committee and played an active role in organising protests and riots in Jamia in December 2019. He is a close associate of Umar Khalid, Sharjeel Imam, Meeran Haider and Safoora Zargar who had been key organisers of anti-CAA protests and subsequent riots," the police had said.
On December 15 last year, protesters had turned violent, torching four public buses and two police vehicles and pelting stones at the police and civilians, near JMI. At least 40 people including students, policemen and firefighters were injured in the incident.
Communal clashes had broken out in northeast Delhi on February 24 after violence between citizenship law supporters and protesters spiralled out of control leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured.