In jail due to profession: Scribe

A Delhi court was told by a senior journalist arrested in the petroleum ministry documents leak case on Saturday that he is in jail due to his profession but other scribes writing on the Cabinet note, which is a classified document, have faced no action. The court was informed by accused Shantanu Saikia, who runs a Web news portal, that journalists were required to do stories on the basis of documents which were not in public domain and he was facing the “ordeal” for the past two months in jail because he also dared to travel in a domain not open to public.

Chief metropolitan magistrate (CMM) Sanjay Khanagwal was told, “Every day and every night, I am facing the ordeal for the past 60 days. A journalist is required to do stories which are not in the public domain but I have landed in jail due to my profession.”

Mr Saikia said, “Every newspaper does stories based on Cabinet note which is a classified document but still no one is arrested.”

“I have been in custody and lodged in Tihar jail for the past 60 days. A chargesheet has been filed against me where no major charges have been slapped,” he added.

The CMM told Mr Saikia when the hearing started that the investigation officer (IO) was out of town and it would be better if he argues in front of the IO so that the court’s queries could be addressed at the same time.

The court also told him that if he would argue then his submissions would be noted and clarifications would be taken from the IO later. Mr Saikia said, “I have been a journalist for over 30 years. I have lost 28 kg weight in the past 60 days. For me, every minute counts. I am ready to argue today.”

He also informed the court about his health and condition in which he is lodged in Tihar jail.

The Crime Branch of the Delhi police recently filed a chargesheet against Mr Saikia and 12 others, including five corporate executives.

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