Zubair taken to Bengaluru to recover electronic devices

The Delhi High Court has agreed to hear on Friday AltNews co-founder Mohammed Zubair’s plea challenging his police remand on the charge of hurting religious sentiments following a complaint over a tweet from 2018, his lawyers said. It was filed before Justice Sanjeev Narula who is expected to hear the application moved by Zubair’s lawyer, advocate Vrinda Grover.

Zubair was arrested Monday and booked under sections related to promoting enmity and outraging religious feelings, after an anonymous Twitter user tagged Delhi Police, saying his tweet insulted a Hindu god, and was sent to four-day police custody by a court.

Meanwhile, a four-member Delhi Police team flew Zubair to Bengaluru on Thursday to recover his electronic devices from his home as part of the probe. While police had seized his phone after the arrest, they claimed it had been formatted and contained no data related to the case.

Sources in Bengaluru Police confirmed that Delhi Police’s cyber crime unit arrived around 11 am and went to Zubair’s house in DJ Halli police limits, where they stayed for over two hours. After the search, a family member told The Indian Express the Delhi team did not speak or question them. Police later took Zubair to DJ Halli police station where formalities were finished. Around 5.30 pm, they left after collecting a bag with electronic devices, said sources.

A police officer said, “The devices, his laptop and hard disk, will be sent to the FSL. Once the devices are examined, we can question him further…”

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Police said they are looking for old phone data on his devices. “Zubair produced a complaint copy of his lost phone (used to tweet in 2018) but there’s a possibility he did a back-up on his laptop, hard disk,” said an officer.

Police had earlier told court they needed access to his laptop to investigate the case. Zubair’s lawyers had argued that police were seeking access to his laptop as he has been “challenging many things that are happening”.

AltNews co-founder Pratik Sinha tweeted: “Zubair tweeted (in 2018)… from a phone which was snatched from him in 2021, for which he’s produced a police complaint copy. Yet, Delhi police went all the way to Bangalore to get his laptop, a device that has nothing to do with the tweet.”

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