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BJP MLA acquitted in Patiala House assault case, court says those who captured footage not examined

The court noted that Jamai had failed to identify Marwah in court as the person leading the mob when he was examined on February 3, 2021.

BJP MLA Om Prakash Sharma (in blue), CPI member Ameeque Jamai outside Patiala House Court in 2016. (Express Archive)

A Delhi court Tuesday acquitted BJP MLA Om Prakash Sharma and former Delhi MLA Tarvinder Singh Marwah, who were accused of assaulting CPI member Ameeque Jamai outside Patiala House Court in February 2016.

Jamai was outside the court waiting for the production of former JNU Students’ Union president Kanhaiya Kumar in the 2016 JNU sedition case.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Ravindra Kumar Pandey observed that CDs/DVDs seized from various media houses capturing the alleged assault “were not duly proved as per law as the person who recorded and covered the material in the CDs/DVDs were not examined as a witness or associated in the investigation, and no reasonable explanation was offered on behalf of the prosecution”.

Similarly, the court said that a photojournalist was “not examined as a witness nor he was associated in the investigation of the case, and no reasonable explanation was offered on behalf of the prosecution”.

“No other eyewitness of the incident was associated in the investigation or produced in the trial and no valid explanation was offered by the prosecution or by the investigating agency,” the court said. The court further said that Jamai, the sole witness, made “material improvement and contradictory statement”.

ACMM Pandey wrote in his judgement, “The accused Sharma and complainant Jamai were belonging to different political parties and different ideologies” and knew each other since 2013-2014. The court said Jamai “did not disclose his name in his initial complaint and role in the commission of the offence, and when he was called as a witness and was examined on 27.10.2020 and on 03.02.2021, he made material improvement from his initial statement”.

The court held that Jamai also “improved his version from the statement recorded on 27.10.2020 to the statement recorded on 03.02.2021”.The court noted that Jamai had accused Sharma of saying “agar bandook hoti toh goli maar deta” in his statement recorded on February 3, 2021, but this was not stated in his previous statement recorded on October 27, 2020.

The court, in his October 2020 statement, noted that Jamai had stated that Sharma was leading a mob and landed blows and kicks on his body, threatening him against standing for the “Justice for Rohit Vemula campaign”, but “no such disclosure was made when he gave his complaint to the police in his own handwriting”. On his allegations that professor Ayesha Kidwai was manhandled along with some journalists, the court noted, “No such disclosure was made by the complainant when he gave his complaint in his own handwriting on 15.02.2016.”

“During investigation also, he did not inform the police regarding the presence of Kidwai, Vishwajit Kumar and Binoy Viswam at the spot. The police had not associated these three persons or any person from media houses/journalists in order to establish that Professor Kidwai or Kumar and Viswam were manhandled or beaten up,” the judgement read. The court further noted that “no complaint from these peoples or any media personnel was lodged with the police…”

The court noted that Jamai had failed to identify Marwah in court as the person leading the mob when he was examined on February 3, 2021. The court noted that he took Marwah’s name “in the complaint on the basis that he heard the word Marwah in the mob when the mob was beating him”. The court acquitted the accused under sections 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint), 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) and 34 (common intention) of the IPC.

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