Senior Congress leader and former Union Minister Salman Khurshid has been named in the latest chargesheet filed by the Delhi Police in the Delhi riots case for giving ‘provocative speeches’.
The 17,000-page chargesheet, filed on September 17, contains a statement from a witness saying: “Umar Khalid, Salman Khurshid, Nadeem Khan… they all used to give provocative speeches (at anti-CAA/NRC sit-ins in Delhi) and people used to get mobilised.”
The police have not mentioned the exact nature of the alleged provocative speeches. The identity of the witness has been concealed by the police (known as a protective witness). The police claims the witness was part of the core team of conspirators accused of plotting the riots.
The statement has been recorded before a Magistrate (under Section 164 of Code of Criminal Procedure or CrPC), giving it greater legal weight.
Mr Khurshid has also been named by another accused for giving speeches at protest sites in a statement recorded by the police.
“If you do garbage collection, you get a lot of filth. Any garbage can be put to support statements made by individuals. I would be intrigued to know what is a provocative statement,” the 67-year-old senior Congress leader said, responding to the allegations.
“Did I attend a protest to sing a lullaby or support a constitutional, legitimate cause. (This is) an attempt at garbage collection. Sadly, the garbage collectors are not doing a good job. Don’t pick up garbage and ask questions on the quality of garbage.”
“Has (the witness) not lied by saying I made provocative statements. Have the police acted on the statement? If they have not acted on it what is the value of the statement,” Mr Khurshid added.
Mr Khurshid is the highest ranking politician named in police chargesheets so far. The police have come under criticism for using the riots probe to target critics of the government, as well as prominent figures from the anti-CAA/NRC movement.
CPM leader Brinda Karat, lawyer Prashant Bhushan and activist Yogendra Yadav have also been named in the chargesheet giving speeches.
54 were killed in the riots that occurred in February this year.