Delhi Riots Cases: Court Casts Doubts on Police Witnesses, Grants Bail to Seven Accused

Thick smoke billowed in the air and mobs roamed unchecked through the streets, pelting stones, vandalising shops as fresh violence broke out in northeast Delhi on February 26. — AP

Even though Constable Vipin and Head Constable Hari Babu were posted as beat officers in the area at the relevant time of the incident (Feb 25), they waited till April to name the accused, observes court

Clarion India

NEW DELHI — A Delhi court Tuesday granted bail to seven persons in a case related to the north-east Delhi riots of February last year. The court also cast doubts on the credibility of two police witnesses in the matter.

Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav granted relief to Mohd Tahir, Shahrukh and others on furnishing a bail bond in the case of alleged vandalism and torching of a shop by a riotous mob in the Gokalpuri area.

The court noted that the prosecution was opposing both the bail pleas on the strength of their categorical identification by beat officers — Constable Vipin and Head Constable Hari Babu — in their statements recorded under section 161 (examination by police) of the Code of Criminal Procedure on April 7, 2020. It noted that Tahir has neither been named in the FIR nor there are specific allegations against him in the matter. Their identification was hardly of any consequence, it said, adding that even though they were posted as beat officers in the area at the relevant time of the incident, they waited till April to name the accused when they had categorically seen and identified them allegedly indulging in riots on February 25, 2020.

“Being police officials, what stopped them from reporting the matter then and there in the police station or to bring the same to the knowledge of higher police officers. This cast a serious doubt on the credibility of two police witnesses,” the court said in its order.

It further said that the CCTV footage relied upon by the police in the case pertained to February 24, 2020, whereas the incident took place the next day. “No CCTV/video footage of February 25, 2020, (on which date the incident in question took place) has been placed on record by the investigating agency. It also said both the accused were entitled for grant of bail on the ground of parity as the role assigned to them was on identical footing as co-accused Rashid who was already enlarged on bail.

During the hearing, advocate Salim Malik, appearing for the accused, claimed they have been falsely implicated in the matter and were mere “bona fide bystanders”.

The granting of bail to riot accused is the result of the efforts of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind General Secretary Maulana Mahmood Madani. He has taken up the cases of Muslims who have wrongly been implicated by the Delhi police in riot cases. So far bails have been obtained in 161 cases. Maulana Madani has also reconstructed houses for the Delhi riots victims.

Jamiat secretary Advocate Niaz Ahmad Farooqui said that there are many families which have no bread earners except the accused who are languishing in jails for the last ten months. He noted that rickshaw puller Sharukh Kardampuri is an example. Besides his family, he has old parents dependent on him. His family was not even able to bear travel expenses of visiting the advocates appointed by the Jamiat.


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