Freelancer Punia held at Singhu protest site granted bail

New Delhi (IANS): A Delhi court on Tuesday granted bail to freelance journalist Mandeep Punia, who was arrested while covering the violence at the farmers’ protest site at Singhu on the Delhi-Haryana border last week.

Police on Saturday arrested Punia after he allegedly misbehaved with a Station House Officer at the protest site. Police claimed that he was moving through roadblocks and barricades when the alleged incident took place.

Granting him bail subject to certain conditions, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Satvir Singh Lamba noted that the alleged scuffle took place around 6.30 pm, but the FIR was registered at 1.21 am the next day.

“Moreover, the complainant, victims and witnesses are police personnel only. Hence, there is no possibility that accused will be able to influence any of the police officials… keeping the accused further in judicial custody will not serve any cogent purpose,” the court order said.

The Chief Metropolitan Magistrate said that it was well settled principle of law that ‘bail is a rule and jail is an exception’.

“Hence, considering the totality of facts and circumstances of the present case, he is admitted to bail on furnishing a bail bond.”

Punia was bailed out on the condition that he will not jump bail, appear in the court regularly and not leave the country without prior court permission.

He was also asked not to indulge in similar or any other offence in the event of release on bail, and not tamper with evidence.

Punia’s counsel submitted that his client was “falsely implicated” in the case and that he was merely carrying out his duties at the protest site.

On the other hand, the Additional Public Prosecutor strongly opposed the bail on the ground that the charges against the accused were grave in nature.

It was also contended that the accused may again indulge in instigating the protesters and create nuisance at the protest site with a group of different people and hamper the investigation.