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Police Raid Office of Mehmood Pracha, Lawyer Appearing for Delhi Riot Victims, Seize Documents

Screengrab of the video where advocate Mehmood Pracha can be seen talking to Delhi police personnel

Screengrab of the video where advocate Mehmood Pracha can be seen talking to Delhi police personnel

Meanwhile, Pracha claimed that imposters in plainclothes posed as cops to gather vital information of his clients from his computers and has filed a police complaint regarding it. The Delhi police have, however, denied all such allegations.

The Special Cell of the Delhi Police on Thursday raided the office of senior Supreme Court advocate Mehmood Pracha, who is appearing for several Northeast Delhi riots’ accused, till late at night in connection with a case filed against him.

Meanwhile, Pracha claimed that imposters in plainclothes posed as cops to gather vital information of his clients from his computers and has filed a police complaint regarding it. The Delhi police have, however, denied all such allegations.

The police maintained that Pracha’s Nizamuddin office was raided in connection to a case registered on August 22 this year. An FIR was lodged against Pracha after one of the Delhi riot victims told a court that the lawyer had asked him to fake his testimony and frame three people in cases. A case was filed against Pracha for giving false information to the court, cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy.

A social media outrage erupted after a video of the raids was shared by several journalists on Twitter. In the video, police personnel in plainclothes can be seen inside the lawyer’s office, where Pracha is expostulating the cops for seeking his hard drives as that would violate the client-attorney privilege, which is accorded under the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.

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The Delhi Police said that the raid was based on a warrant from a local court to search for “incriminating documents" and “metadata of outbox” of the official email address of Pracha’s law firm.

“During the course of investigation, search warrants to look for electronic and other evidence from the premises of two members of the bar were obtained from the Hon’ble Court and the same are being executed in a professional manner at one location in Nizamuddin and another at Yamuna Vihar,” the Delhi police said.

Meanwhile, in the viral video, Pracha can be heard engaging in a fierce argument after the police claimed that they have a court order allowing them to search his office. Pracha said that while the police are free to scan the computers in his office but he himself would not share any details with them or allow pen drives or hard disks to be seized as that would also go against the court’s order, whose validity he contested.

Hours later, Pracha’s office reportedly called the local police to the premises during the raid. Pracha alleged that an “imposter” conducted the raid as the Investigation Officer (IO). The allegation came up when the raiding team did not disclose the identity of its members and sign in the orders, said Pracha in another viral video.

The search team reportedly insisted upon confiscating his computer and various documents, which contain case details and thus make the police’s action illegal under the Evidence Act.

Responding to Pracha’s allegation about imposters raiding his office, the police issued a statement, saying, “During the course of a bail matter pertaining to an accused of the NED riots, use of a forged notary stamp and creation of allegedly false/manipulated evidence at the hands of certain members of the bar was noticed. The learned special court had observed that the same required thorough investigation. Pursuant to this, a criminal case under appropriate sections of law was registered and investigation was taken up.”

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first published:December 25, 2020, 07:35 IST