Filmmaker Aisha Sultana in a counter affidavit filed before the Kerala High Court on Tuesday denied the Lakshadweep administration’s allegations that she was not cooperating in the investigation of the sedition case filed against her, Live Law reported.
She also claimed that the authority was in a hurry to frame her as an ‘anti-national’.
The sedition case was registered in June over the filmmaker’s ‘bio-weapon’ remark in a news channel panel debate.
On June 7, during a panel discussion on Lakshadweep’s administrative crisis hosted by Media One Malayalam news channel, Aisha said that the central government had used a “bio-weapon” in Lakshadweep which caused the surge in Covid-19 cases.
The filmmaker later clarified that she had used the term only to refer to the island’s controversial new administrator Praful Patel.
However, on June 10, based on a complaint filed by BJP’s Lakshadweep unit president, Abdul Khader, the Kavaratti police registered a sedition case against Aisha.
A plea filed by Aisha seeking to quash the sedition case shortly thereafter was turned down by the Kerala High Court.
On July 20, representing the union territory’s administration, a senior counsel named S Manu filed a statement alleging that Aisha had not been cooperating with the investigation so far. The Lakshadweep administration claimed that she had even deleted chats from her mobile phone after the registration of the case and also alleged that she refused to provide the documents demanded by the police.
The island’s administration further claimed that Aisha had been in constant touch with some people and had been reading from her mobile phone during the panel discussion in which she made the controversial bio-weapon remark.
On Tuesday, in response to these allegations, Aisha submitted that she had not deleted any material from her phone and that her phone was seized by the police without prior information or direction.
Represented by Advocate KA Akbar, the filmmaker also noted that her phone and her brother’s laptop were seized on June 25 and the items were not produced before the trial court until July 15.
She said that she still does not know in whose custody the gadgets were during that period, and with the ‘chain of custody’ lost, there was the possibility that the prosecution could tamper with the mobile phone. Aisha also added that both devices were sent to a forensic lab in Gujarat, instead of labs in Hyderabad, Chennai, or Kerala, which is a deviation from prevalent practice.
The filmmaker also clarified that her mobile phone was switched off during the TV panel discussion.