Delhi Riots: Court Cites Lack of Evidence Acquitting an Accused in Vandalism Case

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Four shop owners, Shahid, Firoz Ahmad, Manjeet Singh and Rashid Ahmad had lodged an FIR against the accused Gurjent Singh

NEW DELHI — A Delhi court on Monday acquitted a man accused of vandalism and burning shops during riots in Bhajan Pura area of North East Delhi in February 2020, saying the statement of the eye witness and complainant Rahis Ahmad “not reliable,” reports ANI.

The court said that the Prosecution has not been able to prove charges against the accused beyond a reasonable doubt.

An FIR against the accused Gurjent Singh was lodged at Bhajanpura Police Station by four shop owners, Shahid, Firoz Ahmad, Manjeet Singh and Rashid Ahmad.

The allegations in this case were that a mob had vandalised and burnt shops in Bhajanpura area on February 24, 2020.

The accused was identified by one of the complainants, Rahis Ahmad. Thereafter, the accused was arrested and charged with the offence of rioting and other.

The court said that the accused was not named by the complainant Rahis Ahmad as one of the rioters in his complaint on March 4, 2020. He also did not make any call to the police on the day of the incident naming the accused as one of the rioters.

While acquitting accused Gurjent Singh, the Special Judge observed, “I find that charges levelled against the accused in this case are not proved beyond reasonable doubts.”

Hence, the accused is acquitted of all the charges in this case,” the court said.

The court noted that Rahis Ahmad testified that he knew the accused well as he was the son of his landlord.

In these circumstances, his natural reaction would have been to mention the accused’s name in the first instance itself, the court said.

“All of a sudden when the Investigating Officer (IO) visited the showroom of Rahis Ahmad on March 8, 2020, he pointed out to the accused, when the accused was allegedly passing in front of his showroom,” the court said.

“Silence on part of the prosecution witness regarding the name of the accused, up to March 8, 2020, does appear abnormal,” the court added.

The court noted that an eye witness in another case also testified that he also knows the accused but despite having seen the mob from his terrace, he did not identify the accused as part of the mob.

The court also took note of the statement of Rahis Ahmad that he received a video of the incident, in which the accused was not visible.

“Therefore, the question arises if the accused participated in vandalism, then how could he be not visible in the video,” the court said.

The court added, “The only logical answer to this question appears to be that the accused was not there in this mob and in the incidents and therefore he did not figure in any video .”

“In view of the above-mentioned analysis, I find that testimony of the prosecution witness is not reliable at all to establish the presence of accused in the mob,” the judge said.

The judge also termed the testimony of the Investigative Officer (IO) as “flimsy in respect of identification of the accused and his arrest.”

In February 2020, the violence was triggered in North East Delhi after Hindu right-wing groups linked to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) attacked sit-in protesters demonstrating against a controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act. The violence caused more than 53 deaths, mostly Muslims and more than 200 were injured. Shops and houses were burnt down and even places of worship were not spared.

(With inputs from ANI)

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