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Opinion

Police raid Delhi lawyer Mahmood Pracha who appears for accused riots

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Confusion and controversy surrounded an hour-long police search of the office of a lawyer representing some of the defendants in the riot case in northeast Delhi.

On Thursday, the Delhi police special cell searched the office of chief defender Mahmood Pracha in Nizamuddin in connection with a case brought against him. Pracha, however, filed a complaint with the police that some imposters posing as police personnel visited his office and took information from his computers on flash drives.

The police denied it and said that the search was carried out by them and that they had a court order.

A person from Pracha’s office, who did not want to be identified, said Thursday night that police teams were still inside Pracha’s office.

During the day, a video of plainclothes police personnel inside Pracha’s office in Nizamuddin was circulated on social media, showing Pracha protesting with police personnel who could not give the information the police were looking for. Police personnel can be heard telling him on video that they have a warrant allowing them to search his office. In response, Pracha is heard citing attorney-client privilege that prevents him from revealing information that was saved in one of the computer systems and that while the police are free to scan the computers in his office, he himself would not share any details. with them. .

The video also shows Pracha and the police arguing over the validity of the order.

Pracha represents several people accused of perpetrating acts of violence or conspiring to provoke the riots that ravaged northeast Delhi in February. His clients include the boss of Bhim Sena, Chandrashekhar Azad, and Gulfisha Fatima.

Pracha could not be reached for comment despite repeated calls to him and his office. The person from his office quoted above said police also seized the lawyer’s phone. HT was unable to independently verify this.

Delhi police said they visited Pracha’s office in connection with one case. On August 22, the police registered an FIR against Pracha after one of the victims of the riots told a court that the lawyer had asked him to fake a statement and incriminate three people in rioting cases. Later, the police had told the court that they had brought a case against Pracha for providing false information to the court, cheating, falsifying and conspiring to commit a crime.

At the time, Pracha denied the police allegations and said the case was intended to intimidate him. Pracha was also a prominent face of the protests against the citizenship amendment law.

In response to Pracha’s accusation of imposters raiding his office posing as police personnel, the police issued a statement Thursday night. It read: “During the course of a bail matter involving a defendant in the NED riots, the use of a forged notary seal and the creation of allegedly false / tampered evidence was noted by certain members of the bar association. The special scholarly court had observed that the same required a thorough investigation. In accordance with this, a criminal case was registered in accordance with the pertinent legal sections and the investigation was initiated ”.

Police said that during the investigation, search warrants were obtained from the court to search for electronic and other evidence at two locations and that they were executing the same thing Thursday.

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