Delhi Police Say Zubair’s Bail Plea Rejected Before Court Order, Clarify Later

New Delhi: Today, Delhi Police was forced to do a fact-check after it announced that fact-checker Mohammed Zubair had been denied bail without waiting for the court’s approval.

The statement from a Delhi police officer to media sources sparked uproar, despite the fact that the court is not expected to issue its statement until after 4pm.

“It is extremely scandalous and speaks volume of rule of law in the country that even before the judge has sat, police have leaked to media,” Mr Zubair’s lawyer, Soutik Banerjee, told the media.

A 2018 led to the arrest of Mr. Zubair, a co-founder of the fact-checking website Alt News, who has been in police detention for the last five days.

He was presented at the Patiala House court in Delhi, where the bail-plea was requested.

Although the House Court in Delhi had completed hearing the arguments but had not yet issued a ruling, deputy commissioner of police KPS Malhotra informed the media that Mr. Zubair’s request for bail had been turned down and that he would now spend the next 14 days in judicial custody.

Mr. Malhotra, the DCP of the cybercrime unit, the officer, who now recalled the statement, claimed he misheard a colleague.

“How KPS Malhotra knows what the order is, is beyond me. This calls for introspection,” Mr Zubair’s lawyer added.

The court was scheduled to pronounce an order by 4 PM today. However, no order has been issued as of now.

Police informed the court during the earlier hearing that they had also charged Mr. Zubair, who is accused of hurting religious sensibilities, with criminal conspiracy and evidence destruction, as well as charges on accounts of Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, FCRA.

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