Delhi Court Orders for Release of Seized Electronic Devices from The Wire’s Editors & Journalists in Amit Malviya V. The Wire

LI Network

Published on: 24 September 2023 at 16:20 IST

In a significant development in the legal battle between BJP leader Amit Malviya and independent news outlet The Wire, a Delhi court has directed the Delhi Police to release the electronic devices seized from the editors and journalists of The Wire.

These devices had been confiscated by the police in October 2022 as part of an investigation stemming from a First Information Report (FIR) filed by Amit Malviya.

The founding editors of The Wire, Siddharth Varadarajan and MK Venu, along with editors Sidharth Bhatia, Jahnavi Sen, and product-cum-business head Mithun Kidambi, jointly approached the court seeking the return of their electronic devices.

The court’s decision to order the release of these devices was based on the fact that they had been in police custody for an extended period, and there was no justifiable reason to continue holding them.

The court stated, “From the record, it is clear that the devices seized during the investigation have been in the custody of the Investigating Officer (IO) for a very long time. The devices have already been examined by the FSL (Forensic Science Laboratory), and their mirror images are available with the FSL for any subsequent investigation.”

The court dismissed the argument put forth by the Investigating Officer that the devices might be required for future investigations, noting that such arguments were speculative and based on uncertain future events.

The devices of the accused persons cannot be kept indefinitely by the IO only on the speculation of an uncertain future event/discovery,” the court emphasized.

As a result, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) Siddhartha Malik of Tis Hazari Courts ordered the police to release the devices within a period of 15 days. The court has also scheduled the case for a compliance report filing on October 21.

The FIR against The Wire and its editors was registered based on a complaint filed by Amit Malviya. The complaint was in response to The Wire’s reports alleging that Malviya had special privileges on Meta platforms, allowing him to have content taken down if it went against the interests of the BJP. These reports were later retracted by The Wire.

In a counter-move, The Wire filed a complaint against its former consultant, Devesh Kumar, alleging that he had fabricated and provided documents, emails, videos, and other materials with the intent to harm the publication’s reputation.

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