A Delhi Court on Friday granted bail to Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair in a case related to an "objectionable tweet" which allegedly promoted enmity between religious groups.Additional Sessions Judge Devender Kumar Jangala of Patiala House Courts granted bail to Zubair on the condition to furnish Rs 50,000 bond with one surety and not to leave the country without the permission of Court.
A detailed order in the matter is expected to be made available later in the day.The same bench had reserved the pronouncement of the judgement on Thursday. The court earlier noted that the Supreme Court was hearing a separate case in this regard and accordingly, the matter was adjourned earlier.
During the course of the hearing, Zubair's counsel Vrinda Grover reiterated the arguments, in which she questioned "what is so provocative about the 2018 tweet even after four years and also said police are constantly adding improvements to the initial case.
"New charges invoked against Zubair are under Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 35 of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act.
On July 2, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Snigdha Sarvaria at the Patiala House Courts rejected the bail plea of Zubair and granted his 14-day custody as sought by the Delhi Police."Since the matter is at the initial stage of investigation and given the overall facts and circumstances of the case and nature and gravity of the offences alleged against the accused, no ground for grant of bail is made out," Sarvaria said, while dismissing Zubair's bail plea.
As per the FIR, accused Zubair had used a screengrab of an old Hindi movie which showed an image of a hotel, with its board reading 'Hanuman hotel' instead of 'Honeymoon hotel'.In his tweet, Zubair had written, "BEFORE 2014: Honeymoon Hotel. After 2014: Hanuman Hotel.
"The Delhi High Court had earlier issued a notice to the Delhi Police on a plea moved by Zubair challenging the Patiala House Courts' order allowing his police custody and seizure of his laptop in connection with the alleged objectionable tweet.