Several social media users have claimed that environment activist Disha Ravi, arrested in the Toolkit case, paid Congress leader and senior Supreme Court advocate Kabil Sibal's son Akhil Sibal Rs 5 lakh to Rs 7 lakh per hearing.
The claim was originally made by columnist Abhijit Iyer Mitra, which was further amplified by many social media handles on Twitter and Facebook. "Disha Ravi hires Akhil Sibal - that's between 5 to 7 lakhs per appearance. Do the maths," Mitra tweeted on February 19.
Right-wing website TFIPOST also carried an article on the same claim but added that Sibal could have appeared "pro bono" but termed it highly unlikely.
Disha Ravi was arrested by Delhi Police from Bengaluru on February 13 for allegedly "editing" a "toolkit", a Google Doc file detailing how people can support farmers' protest. The Delhi Police has said that people who indulged in January 26 violence at Red Fort may have read the "toolkit".
Advocate Akhil Sibal appeared for Disha Ravi on her petition to restrict the Delhi Police not to selectively leak information related to the investigation to the media. On February 18, the Delhi High Couret issued notices to news channels News18, Times Now, India Today, and the News Broadcasting Standards Authority.
IB Times India team reviewed the claim made by Mitra and other social media users and found that the claim is completely false.
According to two independent fact-checkers, Sibal appeared on her behalf "pro bono", a Latin phrase used in law that means it's done for the public good. Sibal told Alt News that he appeared for Ravi twice regarding the media trial petition.
"I took on the case because this was an important issue to agitate before the court. We know the menace of media trials. Private messages should not be leaked during an ongoing case. It sets a dangerous precedent for due process and affects the privacy of the individual. The law has to take its course. The presumption of innocence recognised by law should not be affected," Sibal said.
Not only Sibal but many other lawyers representing her in the court also said that they were appearing on her behalf "pro bono". Her lawyers Sanjana Srikumar and Vrinda Bhandari told BOOM Live news fact checking website that no money was charged nor paid by the client.
Fact reviewed: Did Disha Ravi pay in lakhs to Akhil Sibal for each court appearance?
Claimed by: Social media
Fact check: False