Journalist Siddique Kappan was released from the Lucknow district jail in Uttar Pradesh on Thursday, where he spent over two years after his arrest under charges of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Kappan who was in prison since October 5, 2020 was arrested along with three others at the Mathura toll plaza by the Uttar Pradesh police for inciting violence, in the alleged rape of a young woman. Later he was booked under other cases including in the PMLA case lodged by the ED.
A special Sessions Court in Lucknow on Thursday signed Kappan’s release order more than five weeks after he got bail in the PMLA case lodged by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). Soon after his release he expressed happiness to be out of jail after 28 months. Congress leader P. Chidambaram tweeted in favour of the journalist claiming Article 21 (freedom of expression) has triumphed. He also stated that “Trial Court judges must push back on the demand for judicial custody which is really pre-trial incarceration”.
A single bench of Justice Dinesh Kumar of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court granted bail to Kappan on December 23, 2022, in the money laundering case lodged against him by the Directorate of Enforcement. Due to the winter break and a long procedure of verification it took more than a month for Kappan to move out of Lucknow jail. The journalist has also been accused of having a connection with the Popular Front of India (PFI), which was banned by the Centre.