Court frees Thokchom Veewon on bail


Court frees Thokchom Veewon on bail

By Our Staff Reporter
Imphal, Feb 19 : The Chief Judicial Magistrate, Imphal East, Ningthoujam Lanleima today released Manipuri Students’ Association, Delhi (MSAD) advisor Thokchom Veewon on bail, maintaining that it did not establish his Facebook post to be prima facie seditious. Veewon was arrested by a joint team of Manipur police and Delhi police on February 15.
Thokchom Veewon (23) s/o Th Naba of Lamlai Manung Mayai Leikai advisor of MSAD was produced by a team of Lamlai police before the Court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate Imphal East Lamphelpat under very tight security today.
The accused was flown from New Delhi to Imphal today.
The verdict was passed after setting aside the prosecution’s plea to remand Veewon (23) further to police custody for interrogation till February 22.
A joint team of Manipur and Delhi police arrested Veewon from his rented room at Saket in New Delhi on February 15 in a sedition case for uploading his comments pertaining to the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), 2016 on Facebook.
Veewon hails from Lamlai area in Imphal East. The local police station registered an FIR against him under section 124 (A) IPC added with section 153 A/353 A IPC.
After obtaining a transit remand from a South Saket Court, New Delhi, Veewon was produced before the Chief Judicial Magistrate (Imphal East) Ningthoujam Lanleima today afternoon.
Having heard both sides, the Court maintained that “After consideration of the material on record I do not find the Facebook post as mentioned to be prima facie seditious.”
The Facebook post of Veewon read as “Indefinite curfew imposed in Manipur, Internet banned for 5 days, all cable network asked not to cover any speech or protest, high possibility that CAB will be passed today at Rajya Sabha, Manipur once burned down the State Assembly in 2001 and self determination the only way forward.”
Stating that it did not find “sufficient ground for allowing the remand prayer,” the Court freed Veewon on bail on his furnishing a PR bond of Rs 30,000 and surety amount of the like amount.
Earlier, the prosecution counsel (for the State Government) submitted before the Court that the police custody of the accused was highly required for investigation, however owing to initial stage of the investigation, there was no concrete material against him. Counsels including Rakesh Meihoubam, Director, Manipur unit of Human Rights Law Network (HRNL) and Ali Zia Kabir Choudhary, who appeared for Veewon objected to the remand prayer on certain grounds.
Among other points, they argued that the present Court has no jurisdiction as the accused is a resident of Delhi and that the alleged Facebook post was stated to have been uploaded in the National capital. They also argued that the police did not follow the arrest procedure as prescribed in section 41-B, C and D of CrPC and wholly violated the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court in DK Basu’s case.
The police, who came in plain clothes, did not identify themselves and also no arrest memo was given by them at the time of arrest, contended the lawyers of the accused.

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