Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and Anirban were on Friday grilled together for the first time at a South Delhi police station. The questioning started in the wee hours and lasted for around five hours, before it resumed at around 10.30 am.
They were subjected to two rounds of questioning, with Kanhaiya being confronted with the two separately in the first round and together in the second, a police source informed PTI.
“In both these rounds of interrogation, the duo did not seem to be too familiar with Kanhaiya. Their responses to our queries as well as their versions of the incident focused more on individual participation and what they themselves did on February 9 rather than any co-ordination with each other,” said a source who spoke to The Hindu.
Kanhaiya has claimed that he did not know Umar or Anirban personally but was in the know of their political affiliations. He also claimed that he knew them only as fellow students and did not agree with their political ideology, reports Times Of India.
Kanhaiya has so far maintained that on February 9, he came out of his room only when he got to know about a possible confrontation between two groups over the event inside the campus and has dissociated himself with the event, reports PTI.
Kanhaiya's lawyer added that was no connection between Kumar and the other two students as they belong to different student wings, reports DNA.
However, Umar and Anirban greeted Kanhaiya with 'Lal Salaam' and hugged him before the interrogation began.
"The duo are aware of the fact that Kanhaiya Kumar was targeted by a mob at Patiala House court. Naturally they seemed concerned about his well being. They got emotional," said a police official who spoke to DNA.
Meanwhile, Umar has so far denied having indulged in any anti-national sloganeering, while Anirban challenged claims that the slogans mentioned by the police were anti-national in nature.
According to India Today, Delhi police was facing a hard time interrogating Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya are not cooperating with investigators.
A senior police officer speaking to India Today said,
"During confrontation, Umar was not very cooperative with us while Kanhaiya Kumar, who was sent to one-day police custody, had given answers to all the questions raised by the cops. Throughout the interrogation, Umar was giving intellectual speeches. A cop later told Umar that he wasn't understanding the seriousness of the case and that he is facing sedition charges. Umar also talked about Nehru and Gandhi multiple times, maybe as a tool to evade our questions."
Umar also gave contradictory statements regarding his hideouts. Initially, he claimed he was in some other state but later revealed that he was near JNU only. Umar hasn't disclosed any information about the people who helped him hide from the police.
IndiaTVnews reported that Umar had asked for a plate of steamed momos when he was being grilled by the police. His request was denied by the police.
Meanwhile, Anirbhan maintained that he hasn't done anything wrong and denied having invited any outsider to the event. He also said that he was not briefed about the roles of other organisers.
All three have failed to identify the 'foreign' students who covered their faces while shouting 'anti-India' slogans.
In the statement attached with the FIR, police had identified Umar and Anirban as the "main organisers" and later in the court, the investigators mentioned about the presence of "foreign elements" (outsiders) in the event.
While Kumar was arrested on February 12 and sent to judicial custody five days later, Khalid and Anirban surrendered before the police on Monday, a day after they resurfaced at the varsity's campus. All three of them were arrested in a case of sedition and criminal conspiracy registered over the controversial JNU event against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, in which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised.
The police is likely to seek further remand of Khalid and Anirban, whose police custody ends on Saturday.
(Feature Image Source: PTI)