Is Disha Ravi, arrested in 'toolkit' case, paying her lawyer Akhil Sibal Rs 5-7 lakh per appearance?
Is Disha Ravi, arrested in 'toolkit' case, paying her lawyer Akhil Sibal Rs 5-7 lakh per appearance?

Climate activist Disha Ravi, arrested in connection with allegedly being involved in sharing a "toolkit" on social media related to the farmers' protest, was sent to one-day police custody by a Delhi court on Monday.

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Pankaj Sharma sent Ravi for custodial interrogation after police said she was required to be confronted with co-accused in the case which has transnational ramification.

However, Ravi, who was produced before the court on expiry of her three-day judical remand, through her lawyer opposed the plea of the investigators, saying "Why should I (Ravi) be in police custody while those I have to be confronted with are on bail?"

Police only got one-day custody of Ravi, though it had sought five days of custodial interrogation contending that during her interrogation, she shifted the entire burden on two co-accused - Nikita Jacob and Shantanu Muluk - who "cannot be arrested because they are currently on transit bail".

Meanwhile, Disha Ravi has been trending on social media for the last couple of days a different reason. On February 19, journalist Abhijit Iyer-Mitra tweeted that Ravi's lawyer Akhil Sibal charges Rs 5-7 lakh per appearance. "Disha Ravi hires Akhil Sibal - that’s between 5 to 7 lakhs per appearance. Do the maths," he wrote.

This created a major controversy with many Twitter users asking "how is a 21-year-old able to afford such an expensive lawyer". Some even alleged that she is being funded by "international sources".

Now, Ravi's lawyer Akhil Sibal has refuted these allegations and said that he isn't charging any fee from the climate activist. "I accepted the brief for Disha pro bono and am not charging any fee. I believe the issues raised before the high court in her petition are important. The core issue is whether a detailed discussion by the media of information, which is part of the case file during investigation, and not part of public record – which is possibly leaked by the police – affects the fundamental rights of a citizen being investigated, including her right to privacy, reputation, fair trial, and the presumption of innocence," Sibal told The Quint.

For the uninitiated, Ravi was arrested from Bengaluru in connection with the formulation and dissemination of the 'toolkit' document, in the ongoing farmers' protest. She was one of the editors of the 'toolkit' document, which was shared on Twitter by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.

(With PTI inputs)

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