Disha Ravi -- the 22-year-old activist arrested in the Toolkit case -- and two other wanted activists, held a Zoom meeting before the Republic Day to plan a social media buzz on the tractor rally, the Delhi Police said on Monday. Criticised heavily by celebrities and opposition parties over Disha Ravi's arrest, the police met the media on Monday afternoon regarding the case, filed after the Toolkit was shared by Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg and helped draw global attention to the farmers' protest.
The other two activists -- Nikita Jacob and Shantanu Muluk -- are wanted by the police. Warrants with non-bailable charges are out against them. Nikita Jacob has approached the Bombay High Court for protection from arrest for four weeks.
The police said Puneet, a Canada-based woman, had put Nikita Jacob, Disha Ravi and Shantanu in touch with Poetic Justice Foundation, an organisation with Khalistani links. They had a zoom meeting on January 11.
Yesterday, the police alleged that Disha Ravi was a key conspirator and in an attempt to revive a Khalistani group, prepared and spread the Toolkit. "I did not make the Toolkit. We wanted to support the farmers. I edited two lines on February 3," Disha Ravi had told a Delhi court.
On Monday, the police said evidence against Disha Ravi was found from her cellphone data. "Based on information from Disha's phone and the fact that Nikita absconded, we arrested Disha," an officer said.
The police said Disha Ravi, Nikita Jacob and Shantanu Muluk had created Toolkit and shared it with others for editing. Shantanu Muluk's email account is the owner of the toolkit Google doc, the police added.
Regarding allegations that Disha Ravi, a college graduate from Bengaluru, was arrested and taken to Delhi without the knowledge of her parents, the police said "all guidelines were followed".
"Disha was arrested in the presence of her mother, SHO from local police, and a female officer," an officer said.
Disha Ravi -- arrested on charges of sedition and conspiracy – was produced in a Delhi court yesterday without any lawyer representing her. She has been sent to police custody for five days.
With many commenting on the fact that she had to represent herself, the police said the activist was provided legal aid and if she argued her own case in court, it had nothing to do with the police.
Senior lawyer Rebecca John tweeted alleging "shocking abdication of judicial duties" on part of the magistrate at Delhi's Patiala House court.
"Deeply disappointed by the conduct of the duty magistrate...who remanded a young woman to five days in police custody, without first ensuring that she was being represented by counsel.
Magistrates must take their duties of remand seriously and ensure that the mandate of Article 22 of the constitution is scrupulously followed," she said. If the accused was not being represented by counsel at the time of the hearing, the magistrate should have waited till her counsel arrived or, in the alternate, provided her with legal aid, Ms John wrote.