A Delhi court on Tuesday gave a clean chit to six persons accused of rioting, unlawful assembly and arson in the Jyoti Nagar area during the northeast Delhi riots in February 2020, saying that there was no worthwhile material to frame charges against any of the accused persons.
Additional sessions judge Amitabh Rawat discharged Amir, Saddam, Mohammad Rahis, Amir, Akram and Wasim in the case of ransacking and burning of two tractors belonging to Shahid and Firoz Khan and some others at the parking lot, behind Ambedkar college, Kardam Puri, on February 25, 2020.
The court said that the only incriminating material against the six accused persons was the disclosure statements made by them consequent to their arrest, adding that “disclosure statement, by itself, has no value in the eyes of law”.
The judge said that there is no witness, whether public or police, who identified the accused persons while committing the offences. He also said that the Special Public Prosecutor for the police has also not put forth in his arguments any incriminating material/evidence against the accused persons.
“Based upon the contents of the entire charge-sheet including the annexures, I am of the opinion that there is no worthwhile material at all to frame charges against any of the accused persons in respect of the offences covered in the present case. Thus, all the six accused persons Amir S/o Nafis; Amir S/o Abrar; Saddam; Mohd. Rahis; Akram and Wasim are discharged of all the offences punishable u/s 147 (rioting), 148, 427(damage), 436 (arson) read with Section 149 (unlawful assembly) Indian Penal Code,” the judge said in his six page order.
Meanwhile, on December 7, a city court acquitted four men in a riot case, saying it feels “absolutely loath” to place any trust in the testimonies of two prosecution witnesses — a constable and a head constable — on the aspect of identification of rioters.
In an order, which was made available late Monday night, additional sessions judge Virender Bhat acquitted Dinesh Yadav, Tinku, Sahil and Sandeep in a case related to robbing, vandalising and setting a house and shop on fire at the Bhagirathi Vihar area during the February 26, 2020, riots in the national capital. The case was registered against them on the basis of two complaints filed by Afzal Saifi and Shoaib.
In his complaint, Saifi claimed that a riotous mob barged into his house, vandalised it, robbed articles, and set it on fire. Shoaib approached police with a similar complaint regarding theft at his shop, which was clubbed with Saifi’s complaint.
“In view of the nature of evidence led by the prosecution, the identification of the accused as rioters who committed loot and arson in the house of PW1 (Saifi) becomes intensely doubtful. This court feels absolutely loath to place any trust upon the testimony of PW8 and PW12 on the aspect of identification of the accused as rioters,” Bhat stated in his judgment.
The judge said that their deposition “needed a detailed scrutiny” as they saw the accused participate in the riotous incidents.
The judge said that the manner in which the two star witnesses — constable and a head constable — claimed to have identified the four accused as being amongst the rioters who looted and set Saifi’s house on fire “creates doubt in the mind of court”.
“They claim that all the four accused were known to them and hence, they could identify them in the mob. Intriguingly, they did not inform either their senior officers or the IO (investigation officer) of this case about the fact that they knew some of the rioters who were involved in the rioting incidents in Bhagirathi Vihar on February 26 (2020),” the judge added.
Communal riots had broken out in northeast Delhi in February 2020, claiming 53 lives and leaving over 400 injured.
This story first appeared on hindustantimes.com