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'Travelled to Saudi Arabia, foreign contribution from inimical countries': Zubair under lens of security agencies

 Mohammed Zubair, who claimed to have chased facts, has been under spotlight following his arrest in connection with his controversial tweets.

'Travelled to Saudi Arabia, foreign contribution from inimical countries': Zubair under lens of security agencies

According to security agencies, Zubair, a resident of Bengaluru and holding a Bachelor of Engineering degree in telecom engineering from private M.S. Ramaiah Institute of Technology (MSRIT), has travelled to Saudi Arabia and Australia.

On two separate occasions, the UP government had vehemently opposed Zubair's bail in connection with FIRs registered in UP. On July 8, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Uttar Pradesh government, told the Supreme Court that the matter is not about a single tweet by Zubair, but rather whether he is part of a syndicate which puts out tweets to destabilize the society.

Mehta further added that in a separate case registered by the Delhi Police, Zubair was under investigation because his company has received foreign contributions from countries, which are inimical to India. He said Zubair's tweet at a particular time created a law-and-order situation, which is under investigation and "there is something more to it than meets the eye".

He emphasised that the matter is not of a single tweet, instead his overall conduct is under investigation and added that Zubair is a habitual offender and there are six cases against him in UP.

However, the top court granted an interim bail for 5 days to Zubair in connection with a case registered against him by the UP Police for a tweet, where he allegedly called Hindu seers hatemongers.

Twelve days later, Uttar Pradesh's Additional Advocate General Garima Prasad contended in the Supreme Court that Zubair is a person who, instead of informing the police of hate speech, has been taking advantage of speeches and videos having potential of creating a communal divide and he had shared them repeatedly.

Counsel claimed his tweets are meant to inflame communal violence, which actually took place, in certain localities of Uttar Pradesh, where videos of crimes were used along with comments to incite communal elements to indulge in violence.

However, the Supreme Court said there is "absolutely no justification" in subjecting Zubair to endless custody for his tweets, as it granted interim bail to him in six criminal cases registered against him in UP and ordered his immediate release from jail.

During arguments in the apex court, the top court identified Zubair as a journalist, while Prasad argued that he was not a journalist and sought directions to restrain him from tweeting.

Refusing to restrain Zubair from tweeting, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said "It is like telling a lawyer that you should not argue. How can we tell a journalist that he will not write?...." As

Prasad reiterated, "He is not a journalist...", Justice Chandrachud added that if he violates any law by tweeting, then the authorities can proceed against him as per law.

Zubair has a family with a wife, kids, and parents. He completed his engineering degree in 2005. He then joined Airtel Enterprises in Bengaluru as an engineer for two years. He then worked in CISCO-HCL company for one year before joining Nokia-Siemens Network in 2008 and travelled the entire country including all big metros as part of his job. Zubair worked for the NSN for a decade and met Pravda Media Foundation Director Pratik Sinha and his mother Nirjhari Sinha in 2015.

Pratik Sinha's father Mukul Sinha ran a campaign against then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi over Gujarat riots. It was after this meeting that Zubair and Pravada Foundation joined hands to set up Alt News by as a fact checking website. The UP state counsel on Wednesday told the apex court that Zubair has earned more than Rs 2 crore for his malicious tweets and is not a journalist. Zubair had moved the top court seeking interim bail in six FIRs registered in UP over his tweets.

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