More than a year after the Northeast Delhi riots, a Delhi court Tuesday pronounced its first judgment in a riots case, acquitting a man accused of being part of a mob that allegedly attacked and looted a shop.
Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat acquitted the accused, Suresh alias Bhatura (27), observing that the “prosecution has miserably failed to prove its case, forget about beyond reasonable doubts. All the major witnesses are at variance with each other on material terms, impacting the prosecution version.”
The accused was represented by a legal aid counsel, Rajeev Pratap Singh, who told the court that his client was granted bail earlier, but “could not pay his surety since he belongs to a poor family”.
The FIR was filed on a complaint by one Asif, who stated that around 4 pm on February 25, 2020, a huge crowd carrying iron rods and lathis came to his shop at Main Babarpur road, broke open the shutter and looted it.
This shop is owned by one Bhagat Singh, who said in his statement to the police that members of the mob looted the shop as they thought it was owned by a Muslim. He told police he tried to reason with the mob, but was chased away. Singh then reached out to a head constable, who reached the spot, and the crowd dispersed.
Discussing the prosecution witnesses’ evidence, the court said “there is no testimony worth its salt which connects the accused to the present offence in question”.
Pointing to “glaring inconsistencies” in the testimony of the prosecution witnesses, the court stated that Asif is “not an eyewitness to the incident of the rioting” and Singh denied having “ever identified the accused either on date of incident or when police came to him with one apprehended individual”.
The court said that the police investigation “is way short of the desired one”.
The court said that Head Constable Sunil’s evidence that he saw the accused on the day of rioting was “untenable” as he did not record any entry of the same.
“It is also important to note that the accused is stated to be a bad character in the area and the fact was known to all the police officials, and despite this, it was not reduced into writing till 01.03.2020, and this is not believable,” the judgement read.
The court had on March 9 framed charges under IPC sections 143 (punishment for being a member of an unlawful assembly), 147 (punishment for rioting), 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees), 454 (lurking house-trespass or house-breaking in order to commit offence punis
This story first appeared on indianexpress.com