Delhi 2020 riots: Judge pulls up Delhi Police for investigation, acquits accused
The court noted that it could not be sufficiently proved by the prosecution that the accused was part of a mob that damaged property in northeast Delhi during the violence
A Delhi court has acquitted a man accused of rioting during the 2020 northeast Delhi clashes, citing that the police had filed the chargesheet without actually investigating the incidents, while pulling up the prosecution for not submitting a video pertaining to the identification of the accused.
Additional sessions judge Pulastya Pramachala's decision was based on a lack of sufficient evidence to prove the accused's presence in the mob beyond reasonable doubt. It could not be sufficiently proved that Javed, who was accused of being part of a riotous mob that burned properties in northeast Delhi during the 2020 violence, was part of the rioting.
The judge said it was “unfortunate” that the prosecution was "befooling" the court. He also warned the investigating agency not to repeat such conduct in future. The court observed that while the prosecution established the presence of an unlawful assembly involved in rioting and vandalism, the individual's involvement could not be sufficiently proven.
The matter pertains to a case registered by the Dayalpur police station against Mohammed Farooq and others where the court had asked the prosecution to submit a video for identification of the accused.
It also noted that the charge sheet was filed for multiple incidents without thorough investigation, and certain sections of the Indian Penal Code were invoked without proper consideration of the actual situation.
This is not the first time a court in Delhi has pulled up Delhi police for shoddy investigation and falsifying witnesses in the 2020 Delhi riots cases.
Earlier this year in June, Karkardooma court had pulled up the Delhi Police for "falsely" citing the complainant as a witness who could identify accused as the offender. Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Shirish Aggarwal of Karkardooma Courts pointed out that it appeared that eyewitness testimony of a head constable was procured and prepared falsely and belatedly to solve this case.
Acquitting Noor Mohammad, who was booked for rioting, robbery and voluntarily causing hurt, Aggarwal said the police officer who has witnessed an offence being committed in his area of posting did not make any complaint in this regard. “The head constable never reported the matter at his police station for registration of FIR. He did not call up 100 number for seeking immediate police aid,” said the judge puncturing the prosecution’s claims.
In another case in June 2023, the court of additional sessions judge Pulatsaya Parmachala had pulled up Delhi police for "wrongly" clubbing 27 complaints on separate incidents of rioting and arson during the 2020 Delhi riots with a pre-existing FIR and acquitted three people in the case. He pointed out there was no reason to club these cases and directed a senior police officer to ensure that additional complaints are investigated properly.
Parmachala acquitted Akil Ahmed, Raees Khan and Irshad in the case and referred it to the investigating agency again.
In May 2023, Judge Pramachala slammed an investigating officer for his "casual and unprofessional conduct" while investigating a case registered by the Khajuri Khas police station under various offences, including rioting, theft, robbery and arson, against some persons. He referred the matter to the police commissioner Sanjay Arora for appraisal of investigation.
Also, the assistant commissioner of police and SHO of the Khajuri Khas police station were directed to review the entire case and if required, ensure further investigation by another IO, the judge noted.
In November 2022, a trial court pulled up the Delhi Police for presenting “irrelevant” witnesses before it in a 2020 riots case. The court made these observations while examining a prosecution witness, Manoj Kumar, in the case of rioting registered by the Khajuri Khas police station against Noor Mohammad and Nabi Mohammad.
During the proceedings, the counsel for the accused said there was no mention of the complaint of Kumar in the charge-sheet framed in the matter.
In 2021, in another case related to Delhi riots, Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav rapped the police after one of the police witnesses in a North-East Delhi riots case was caught lying under oath. The judge noted that prima facie, as one of the police witnesses lied under oath, it is punishable under Section 193 IPC.
A head constable told the judge under oath that, in his evidence that he had identified rioters Vikas Kashyap, Golu Kashyap and Rinku Subziwala. The constable is one of the prosecution’s witnesses. On the contrary, another prosecution witness, an assistant sub-inspector stated that the three accused, although specifically named by the head constable, could not be identified during the probe.
Meanwhile, the investigating officer (IO) of the case said that there is nothing on record to substantiate that the three accused were ever investigated, despite their names being there on record.