Difficult To Assume 'Mob' From Muslim Community Would Chant ‘Jai Shree Ram’: Court Raps Delhi Police For Clubbing Complaints Without Probe, Acquits 3
While acquitting three Muslim men in a case connected to the Northeast Delhi riots, a court in the national capital pulled up the Delhi Police for clubbing several complaints with the case without investigation. The court acquitted the three accused in the main complaint and referred the matter related to the wrongly clubbed complaints back to the investigating agency.Additional Sessions...
While acquitting three Muslim men in a case connected to the Northeast Delhi riots, a court in the national capital pulled up the Delhi Police for clubbing several complaints with the case without investigation.
The court acquitted the three accused in the main complaint and referred the matter related to the wrongly clubbed complaints back to the investigating agency.
Additional Sessions Judge Pulastya Pramachala said the charges levelled against Akil Ahmed, Raheesh Khan and Irshad in respect of incident at a shop at Chandu Nagar, Karawal Nagar Road are not proved beyond reasonable doubts.
In the case, one Danish complained that his shop, a courier service office, was looted and burnt down due to which he suffered a loss of Rs 6-7 lakh. Police Station Dayalpur later clubbed more complaints with Danish's complaint on the grounds of proximity of place and date of incident.
All the accused persons denied the allegations and pleaded innocence, submitting that they were not present at the spot on the day of incident and they have been falsely implicated in this case. Advocate Mehmood Pracha, representing Akil Ahmed, alleged that investigating officer made attempts to plant stock witnesses and make sensational and exaggerated accusations against the accused with ulterior motives. Advocate Salim Malik represented the other two accused.
The court in the ruling noted that in the charge sheet, the Investigating Officer (IO) mentioned about 27 complaints being clubbed in this case. However, on perusal of the list of complaints mentioned in the charge sheet, it can be found that name of three complainants were mentioned twice in the list, it said.
"Moreover, there was discrepancy in the serial numbers in the sense that after serial no.14, there was no serial no.15 and straight away serial no.16 was given in the list. Thus, this list effectively referred to 23 additional complaints, which were shown to be taken up for investigation in this FIR itself," said the court, adding that IO could not point out the 27 complaints when he was cross examined.
The court further noted that after more questioning on the aspect of investigation done on the additional complaints and evidence against the accused persons in respect of these incidents, the IO finally answered that he had found evidence against the accused persons in respect of incident at the premises of Danish only and none else.
"He further stated that he had clubbed other complaints in this case with complaint of Danish because those places of incidents were also situated at the distance of around 100 to 300 meters from the premises of Danish. Thereafter, he further stated that the place of incident as disclosed in complaint of Asif Ex.PW21/A was at a distance of about 300-400 meters from the premises of Danish," said the court.
The court observed that the testimony of IO itself makes it "amply clear" that though he clubbed additional complaints in the FIR for investigation, but he charge sheeted the accused persons in this case only on the basis of evidence against them qua incident taken place at the property of Danish, who was the first complainant.
"In some of the additional complaints, the complainants had mentioned that the mob at their respective places were chanting slogan of "Jai Shree Ram". One complainant namely Shahnawaz in his complaint Ex.PW12/A had mentioned name of Bhullu and Lala being part of the mob at his place. However, IO did not say anything in the charge sheet or in his examination in chief, about such allegations made in the respective complaints and the investigation done by him on the basis of such allegations. It is very difficult to assume that it would have been a mob of persons from Muslim community, who would have been chanting slogan of "Jai Shree Ram" while indulging into riot and vandalism. I say so also because it is so projected by prosecution also that a communal riot had taken place," said the court.
It further said that even in the statement recorded by IO, one witness had mentioned about there being two groups confronting each other and resulting into riots. "IO in his cross examination in respect of investigation done on additional complaints, though claimed to have made inquiry from respective complainants, but he could not come up with satisfactory account of further investigation, if done by him. Thus, it is amply clear that all the additional complaints clubbed in this case were not completely investigated," said the court.
The judge further went on to say that IO was even not aware of the time when such incidents took place and that apparently that there was "no logical ground" with the police officer to club those complaints in the present FIR.
"It appears to have been so done in very casual manner. Hence, I find that all these complaints are wrongly clubbed in the present FIR in mechanical manner and were not investigated," said the court, while refusing to deal with those complaints in the present FIR.
The court said it would be injustice with those additional complainants, to decide their complaints in the present FIR itself, without there being a proper and complete investigation on their complaints.
With respect to Danish's complaint, the court said except for Ct. Piyush's testimony, there was no other witness from the prosecution to say anything about incident at his shop. The IO did not even make inquiry about particulars of the person who had called Danish to inform him about the incident, said the court. However, the court said it can be safely assumed that his shop was actually vandalized.
The court said in respect of all the incidents mentioned in the chargesheet including the incident at Danish's shop, no time period of the incident was mentioned.
"It was shown to have taken place at time unknown. If the IO could not even find the time period of the incident at shop ..., though, he claimed that he had found one eyewitness i.e. PW27/Ct. Piyush, it shows the authenticity of such claim of the IO. As already mentioned herein above, IO did not attempt to find the person who had informed PW1 about the incident. Therefore, it was laxity on the part of IO, rather than hostility of public witnesses, so as to not get credible relevant public witness in respect of the incident at the premises of Danish," said the court.
The court further noted that Constable Piyush deposed that there was gathering of about 1500-2000 persons at Karawal Nagar Road in front of Chandu Nagar and those persons were raising slogans against CAA/NRC and vandalizing nearby shops.
"This chaos continued for long time and PW27 had seen and identified three persons i.e. the three accused herein in that mob. PW27 claimed that he had seen them in the area of PS during patrolling duty and he also knew their names. He further testified that he came back to PS and informed his senior officers about aforesaid incident and about knowing three accused persons being part of that mob. He gave his statement before IO on 05.03.2020 and he had given only one statement before the IO. However, PW27 did not say anything in respect of role played by the accused persons," it noted.
The court said the IO recorded his statement on 16.04.2020 and there is no statement dated 05.03.2020. Since this witness claimed that he was examined once only by the IO, there cannot be situation of having additional statement recorded on 16.04.2020, it added.
"Interestingly, even IO/PW30 deposed that he recorded statement of Ct. Piyush on 05.03.2020. Thus, their testimony is in total contradiction to the record of prosecution itself regarding date of examination of Ct. Piyus. According to PW27 and PW30, they went to Mandoli Jail together on 16.04.2020, when all three accused persons were arrested in this case by PW30 on identification of PW27. During his crossexamination, PW27 deposed that he came to know about name of accused Irsad, when he made inquiry from secret informers after the riots. Such improvement made by PW27, contradicted his own version about knowing all three accused persons with their names since prior to the riots," it said further.
The court said similar stand was taken by PW27 or Piyush in respect of acquiring knowledge about accused Raheesh. "PW27 further deposed in his cross-examination that he did not tell name of father of accused persons before the IO. He also stated that he had only informed about area of their residence before the IO. However, statement of this witness as recorded by IO under Section 161 Cr.P.C. would show that name of parents of all three accused persons were mentioned by IO. Such situation leads to two possibilities," it added.
The court observed that either PW27 was not deposing before the court correctly or his statement under Section 161 Cr.P.C. was not a record of his actual knowledge about this case, rather it was prepared by IO after supplementing it with additional facts. Only then, there could be reference to parentage of these three accused persons in this statement, it added.
"For me the aforesaid situations are sufficient to shake my confidence over the credibility of PW27 in respect of his statement given regarding identification of the accused persons. I am conscious of the observations made by Supreme Court in the cases of Pramod Kumar (supra), Kashmiri Lal (supra) and K. Yarappa (supra), as referred by ld. prosecutor. However, I find that the evidence produced by the prosecution in the case, fails to qualify the test of credibility in respect of identification of the accused persons being member of the mob, which was responsible for the incident at the premises of Danish."
While acquitting the accused in the complaint filed by Danish, the court said: "I have consciously not given any finding in respect of charges qua other incidents based on additional complaints, for the reasons that same were not properly and completely investigated by IO and for such omission of the IO, those complainants should not be prejudiced. Hence, the matter in that respect is being referred to investigating agency again."