Prosecution labels applications in 2020 Delhi riots conspiracy case as 'frivolous' before court

Some accused including Devangana Kalita, Natasha Narwal, and Asif Iqbal Tanha, had sought clarification from the Delhi Police regarding the status of their investigation

Representative image of gavel of justice (photo: IANS)
Representative image of gavel of justice (photo: IANS)


The prosecution has characterised applications filed by some of the accused individuals in the case related to the alleged conspiracy behind the 2020 northeast Delhi riots as frivolous, speculative, and presumptive.

Some accused including Devangana Kalita, Natasha Narwal, and Asif Iqbal Tanha, had sought clarification from the Delhi Police regarding the status of their investigation.

Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) Amit Prasad argued before Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat of Karkardooma court that these applications do not cite any legal provision that would allow the requested actions.

Prasad remarked: "... these prayers go on the assumption that framing of charges attains finality."

He also stated that the judgements referenced by the accused do not grant the authority to entertain the applications in this manner, nor do they provide any power to go beyond the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

The SPP further said that these applications appear to be attempts to derail the ongoing trial.

The accused had filed applications seeking a direction from the court to direct the police to clarify when the investigation will be completed before arguments begin on whether to frame charges.

Tanha specifically requested a timeline for when the investigation is likely to be completed. Other co-accused, including Safoora Zargar, Sharjeel Imam, and Meeran Haider, also considered similar requests.

On Tuesday, the court listed the matter for hearing next on Friday.

On August 5, the court had said that it will start hearing on a day-to-day basis from September 11.

However, on September 11, advocate Adit Pujari, appearing for Kalita, took objection to proceeding on charges saying that the prosecution is beating around the bush and is still not saying that the investigation is complete in the case.

Advocate Sowjhanya Shankaran, representing Tanha, had said that before proceeding the trial, the prosecution must assure that their investigation is complete and no further supplementary charge sheet will be filed in the case.

However, the contentions were opposed by Prasad, who claimed that this is just a tactic being played by the accused, who are on bail, for the benefit of accused who are in custody as they claim delay in trial before higher courts.

He further said that it should be taken on record because tomorrow it should not reflect that they didn’t start the arguments, and contended that they could have opposed the day-to-day hearing before hand and could have filed a proper application.

The court then ordered: "Put a detailed submission, with advance copy to the prosecution."

The proceedings in the case commenced in September 2020 with the filing of the first charge sheet, and since then, the Delhi Police has filed a total of four charge sheets in the case. The charge sheets were submitted on September 16, 2020, followed by supplementary charge sheets on November 22, 2020, February 24, 2021, and March 2, 2022.

The accused in this case include Tahir Hussain, Umar Khalid, Khalid Saifi, Isharat Jahan, Haider, Gulfisha Fatima, Shifa-ur-Rehman, Tanha, Shadab Ahmed, Tasleem Ahmed, Saleem Malik, Mohd. Saleem Khan, Athar Khan, Zargar, Imam, Faizan Khan, and Narwal.

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