The office of a lawyer in Delhi who allegedly taught people to make false statements in cases related to riots over the modified citizenship law in the national capital in February was raided by Delhi police on Thursday.
The lawyer, Mehmood Pracha, forged an affidavit signed by another lawyer who died three years ago, police said. Mr. Pracha also instructed people who suffered in the Delhi riots to make false statements, police said.
“I won’t back down. They can’t suppress the rule of law in India that easily,” Pracha told NDTV, adding that the charges against him are false.
“The complaint is false. The complaint says that an affidavit was attested by a false public notary. It takes about Rs 20-30 to get the attestation of an affidavit. And no lawyer goes to get the attestation of the declaration. sworn. Clients go alone, and sometimes clerks go too. Why should a person like me save Rs 10-15 by going to a person who charges Rs 10 instead of Rs 30? “Mr. Pracha said.
“And it is the responsibility of the police and the government that the people who sit as a public notary are a real notary,” the lawyer told NDTV.
The police investigation began after a city court asked the police chief to allow the special cell of the criminal branch to look into the charges against the lawyer. The special cell then submitted an initial information report (FIR) and went to the law firm for research.
Mr. Pracha represents several accused in the riots case, including student activist Gulfisha Fatima, who was charged under the strict illegal activities (prevention) law.
Several lawyers condemned the police move against Pracha as “justified”.
“The raids on defense lawyer Mahmood Pracha in the Delhi riots case are a direct attack on the fundamental right of the right to legal representation, all lawyers must condemn this attack,” senior lawyer Indira Jaising tweeted.
The raid on the defense lawyer Mahmood Pracha in the Delhi riots case is a direct attack on the fundamental right of the right to legal representation, all lawyers must condemn this attack
– Indira Jaising (@IJaising) December 24, 2020
Another lawyer, Karuna Nundy, tweeted: “By seizing Attorney Mehmood Pracha’s computers by particular emails, the police will obtain a lot of data protected by the lawyer’s client privilege. This goes to the heart of the rule of law. Lawyers must. defend Adv Pracha as much as for Adv P. Bhushan “.
“There seems to be a serious attack on the right to representation but also the right to the attorney-client privilege. If they have your hard drive, they not only have your particular emails, but they also have all kinds of other client documents. You. you see, what happened here is very serious, ”Ms. Nundy told NDTV.
In February, just a month before the start of the pandemic blockade, collective violence over the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) erupted in Delhi among groups that supported and opposed the law that promised citizenship to three non-Muslim refugees. neighboring countries, widely seen as discriminatory. The government argues that AAC does not discriminate against anyone.
While Prime Minister Narendra Modi held meetings with US President Donald Trump a few miles away, parts of the city plunged into violence which saw widespread clashes, arson and stone throwing leaving 53 dead, at least 200 injured and hundreds of homeless people.
In September, 15 people, all linked to the protests against AAC and none from the campaign in its favor, were named by the police on a large indictment filed about the riots.