19 Sep 2023 8:28 AM GMT
The Delhi Police on Tuesday told a Delhi Court that the accused in the 2020 Delhi riots larger conspiracy case do not have any right in law to ask for overall status of the investigation or timeline for its completion, before proceeding with the arguments on charge.Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad made the submission before Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat of Karkardooma Courts...
The Delhi Police on Tuesday told a Delhi Court that the accused in the 2020 Delhi riots larger conspiracy case do not have any right in law to ask for overall status of the investigation or timeline for its completion, before proceeding with the arguments on charge.
Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad made the submission before Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat of Karkardooma Courts who was hearing the UAPA case.
This was after accused persons Devangana Kalita, Natasha Narwal, Asif Iqbal Tanha, Meeran Haider and Athar Khan moved applications seeking clarity from the Delhi Police on the overall status and completion of its investigation in the case, before proceeding with the arguments on charge.
Co-accused Khalid Saifi, Faizan Khan, Ishrat Jahan, Sharjeel Imam, Safoora Zargar, Saleem Malik, Shifa-ur-Rehman, Shadab Ahamd and Gulfisha Fatima submitted that they adopt the arguments made by those who moved the applications in question.
On the other hand, accused Saleem Khan, Tasleem Ahmad, Umar Khalid and Tahir Hussain have taken a stand that they want the arguments on charge to begin by the prosecution.
“All the applications do not contain any provision in law. Why is it important to see if there is a provision of law or not? Because when the court decides to entertain an application, maintainability goes to the root of the matter. Without any provision and law being there, an application cannot be entertained at all," Prasad submitted at the outset.
He said the applications are presumptive as the accused are assuming that “something will happen.” Prasad said that the applications are nothing but a way to derail the trial.
Referring to the application filed by Kalita and Narwal asking the Delhi Police to indicate when the probe will be completed, Prasad said that the prayer goes on the assumption that the case diaries are not before the court.
He said that the case diaries have been inspected by the court on various stages of investigation, as and when supplementary chargesheets have been filed.
“The prayer is not limited to these two accused. What is being sought that what is the overall progress of investigation. What is the provision in law to ask that? Which provision of law gives the right to any accused to ask anything like that?…Something which law don't give them a right, they want to enter through a backdoor. Something which is not permissible, which can't be entertained by this court, the application is filed,” he said.
Prasad also opposed similar applications made by other accused and submitted that the prayers go on the assumption that the framing of charge attains finality.
He further contended that the accused persons slept over their legal right to challenge the supplementary chargesheets filed by the prosecution if they felt that they should not have been accepted in law.
“…nobody prevented them from seeking its quashing. They want to come to this court by way of this frivolous application…Under the garb of multiple judgments, you create a scene where you disrupt the entire proceeding and then say we weren't delaying the trial,” Prasad argued.
The SPP also submitted that there is no requirement in law for the investigating agency to take court's permission for conducting further investigation in any case.
“None of the judgments [as relied upon by the accused in their applications] gives any power to the court to entertain an application in this manner. The accused or any applicant can come to court with any piece of paper. But that piece of paper cannot become a court record. It has to be in accordance with law,” Prasad said.
He added, “Today to presume that in x case I suffered this and in y case, not related to Delhi riots case, I faced this problem and therefore I am presuming that in this case also it will happen...is it not speculative?…They have remedies in law. They haven't taken those. Now to say these are the defects. You can't complain later. You slept over your right. You didn't challenge the cognizance taken by this court on all the chargesheets.”
The matter will now be heard on Friday for conclusion of prosecution’s arguments.
About the Applications
In their application, Kalita and Narwal have sought a direction on the Delhi Police to state on record the status of investigation in the case and also to indicate when the probe will be completed. They have prayed that the probe agency be permitted to proceed to the stage of arguments on charge only after filing of a report before court.
Similarly, Tanha, apart from seeking status of the investigation, also seeks a direction on the Delhi Police to indicate a timeline as to when the probe will be completed. He has also prayed the investigating agency to state on record that the investigation qua him stands completed, prior to advancing arguments on charge.
On the other hand, Meeran Haider has submitted that the Delhi Police was “sitting on material for years” and has been filing supplementary chargesheets on that same material, which is impermissible.
Haider has specifically referred to the fourth supplementary chargesheet filed by the Delhi Police regarding certain voice samples qua him. It is his case that 70-80% of the material in the said supplementary chargesheet is something that the investigating agency has been sitting for years and that there is no explanation for such conduct.
”I cannot help but have an apprehension that the minute I start arguing, they'll be able to cover gaps in their proposed case against me. In that backdrop, your lordship will consider my right to fair trial. In view of the fact that they have filed a fourth supplementary chargesheet against me recently, the presumption has to be that their investigation qua me is over. Their conduct is not only causing grave prejudice to me, but it will also cause grave prejudice to this court,” his counsel had submitted.
He had also said, “What has my client been reduced to? We have heard about undertrial prisoner. He is actually an under investigation prisoner. He has been forgotten by the society. This court has to step in and protect his right in terms of fair trial.”
FIR 59 of 2020 is being probed by Delhi Police’s Special Cell. The case has been registered under various offences under the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
The accused in the case are Tahir Hussain, Umar Khalid, Khalid Saifi, Isharat Jahan, Meeran Haider, Gulfisha Fatima, Shifa-Ur-Rehman, Asif Iqbal Tanha, Shadab Ahmed, Tasleem Ahmed, Saleem Malik, Mohd. Saleem Khan, Athar Khan, Safoora Zargar, Sharjeel Imam, Faizan Khan and Natasha Narwal.