A court in New Delhi has dismissed the plea filed by Khalid Saifi, founder of United Against Hate, seeking the release of his seized mobile phone number. The phone in question was confiscated during the investigation into Saifi’s alleged involvement in the 2020 northeast Delhi riots conspiracy.
Special Judge Amitabh Rawat, presiding over the case, firmly stated that the mobile phone and its SIM card contain “information relevant to the case” and, consequently, cannot be returned to Saifi. The judge said that issuing a duplicate SIM card could potentially lead to the deletion or obstruction of crucial data, particularly on platforms like WhatsApp.
“The mobile phone of the applicant, Khalid Saifi, and the SIM card … have been seized by the investigating officer (IO) in the present case and they contain information relevant to this case. Thus, the said mobile or the SIM card cannot be released to the applicant,” Judge Rawat said.
He stated, “Moreover, the issuance and usage of a duplicate SIM card by the wife of the accused can result in data like WhatsApp being deleted or obstructed. Hence, this court is not inclined to allow the application.”
In his plea, Saifi highlighted the challenges his family faced in accessing essential services for routine transactions due to the seizure of the SIM card. However, the investigating officer countered this argument, saying that essential services could be availed through an alternative phone number by changing the number with the service provider.
The seized mobile number was reportedly linked to various WhatsApp groups and people believed to have conspired in connection with the alleged crimes related to the 2020 northeast Delhi riots.