"There is no testimony worth it salt which connect the accused to the present offence in question" observed a Delhi Court on Tuesday while acquitting one Suresh of all charges levelled against him involving rioting, dacoity and being a part of an unlawful assembly which had allegedly attacked and looted a shop during the North East Delhi riots that erupted in the national capital last year.
Delivering the first judgment in the Delhi Riots case, Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat observed that there were glaring inconsistencies in the testimonies of the witnesses and even the identification of the accused could not be established in the case, resulting in the acquittal.
"In the light of the testimonies of the said witnesses of the prosecution and their careful scrutiny, it is well apparent 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 Court said.
Furthermore, it said:
"As can be made out on the cumulative reading of the entire testimonies of all the witnesses, the identification of accused is not established at all. The investigation carried out is way short of the desired one."
FIR 102/2020 was registered on the basis of a written complaint by one Asif, tenant of the shop, stating that on February 25 last year, a huge crowd of people carrying iron rods and lathi came at his shop and looted the shop.
The statement of shop's owner was also recorded in the matter which stated that there were certain people who were inciting others to damage and loot the said shop because it was owned by a Muslim.
There were 7 Prosecution witnesses in the case including the complainant, shop owner, one public witness, duty officer, two police personnel and the Investigating Officer.
Analysing the individual testimonies of the witnesses, the Court was of the view that "it is not quantity but the quality of the testimony of the witnesses that matters in a criminal trial."
The Court observed that the shop owner, Bhagat Singh, categorically stated that he had never stated to the Investigating Officer that he can identify the person who had ransacked his shop.
"Careful scrutiny of the evidence brings to light the fact that the testimony of PW5 & PW2 are contradictory on the material terms of the identification of the accused and his apprehension. The testimony of PW6 or PW7 that the accused was taken to the PW2 for identification and who was identified by PW2, is denied by PW2 himself," the Court said.
"There is no testimony worth it salt which connect the accused to the present offence in question," the Court observed while acquitting Suresh.
Title: State v. Suresh @ Bhatura