Delhi riots: Brother of Muslim man killed in violence questions arrest of neighbour as prime accused

The police claim that they made the arrest after carrying out surveillance and questioning a Zee News reporter and cameraman present at the crime scene

Delhi riots: Brother of Muslim man killed in violence questions arrest of neighbour as prime accused
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Dhairya Maheshwari

The Crime Branch SIT probing Delhi riots arrested Imran, charging him with fatally shooting his neighbour of 20 years during a CAA protest on February 24. The police say that they made the arrest after carrying out surveillance and questioning a Zee News reporter and cameraman present at the crime scene.

In another allegation of a botched probe directed at the Delhi Police in the ongoing investigation of Delhi riots, the brother of a 30-year-old Mohammad Furkan has raised formal objections to the arrest of a person who cops say is the prime accused. Furkan, a resident of Kardampuri in north-east Delhi, suffered a gunshot wound on his upper thigh during one of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) sit-in protests on February 24, case papers reveal.

According to the statement given to the police by his elder brother Mohammad Imran, he went to look for his brother on February 24 around 5:30 PM after he came to know through neighbours that stone-pelting by rioters at the protest site had triggered a violence face-off, with gunshots being fired.

Imran has deposed that when he spotted his brother and called him out on the fateful day, Furkan limped towards him and then fell on the road. He took his unconscious brother on a scooter to the nearby Guru Tegh BahadurHospital, where he was declared brought dead. The chargesheet attributes the cause of death to shock caused by the bullet wound.

"Prima facie, the police filed an FIR (number 53) under IPC Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) at Jyoti Nagar Police station against unknown persons on Feb 25," says Chaudhary Ahmad Ali Khan, the lawyer of the accused (also named Imran).

The case papers say that the 'Furkan Murder Case' was transferred to Special Investigation Team-2 (SIT) on March 4, which was one of the Crime Branch squads constituted to investigate all the cases related to the sectarian clashes in the north-east district in the last week of February.

After taking over the probe in the Furkan murder case, the SIT revised the charges against the unknown accused and charged them under Sections 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly), 302 (murder), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 34 (criminal act involving several persons) of the Indian Penal Code, as per police records.

While investigating the case, the SIT claimed that only Zee News was in possession of footage which covered the "crime scene" on Feb 24. "The reporter and the cameraman of Zee News have been examined and their statements recorded under Section 161 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) of the IPC.”

The SIT has claimed that after visiting the crime scene and employing extensive surveillance in the area to track down the accused, they were able to zero down on Imran, who has been in jail since March 31. His case is being heard at the Karkardooma district court.

However, it has emerged that Imran had been a neighbour of Furkan for the last 20 years, also known to his brother. In an affidavit filed before the court, Imran (Furkan's brother) has testified that the accused has been a resident of the same neighbourhood for the last 20 years.

In what punctures holes in police's probe, Imran(Furkan's brother) also says, "That the accused Mohammad Imran is totally innocent in this case, I have no objection if he (is) granted bail in the same case."

Imran's lawyer claims that his client was present there to witness the protest, but ran for his life as soon as the stone-pelting started. "How could a Muslim kill a Muslim, when all were protesting the same law," he questions.

The revelations have surfaced in the wake of Delhi Police's Special Commissioner (Crime) reportedly advising the investigators to 'exercise due care and precaution' while arresting 'Hindu youth' from the north-east district in the ongoing probe, as these were leading to resentment among the Hindu community.

The Crime Branch has claimed in court that it was "impartially" investigating the cases based on "scientific evidence" and had filed 751 criminal cases under various articles of the IPC, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), Arms Act and Prevention to Damage of Public Property Act among others.

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