A Delhi court has granted bail to a man accused of vandalising shops during the Northeast Delhi riots, observing that “the investigating agency is blowing the trumpet that investigation of the cases are underway”, and he “cannot be made to incarcerate in jail for infinity just on the ground that the investigation of the cases are going on”.
Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav granted bail to Noor Mohd on furnishing a bail bond of Rs 20,000 with one surety each in the three cases related to rioting and vandalising shops in Khajuri Khas.
The court said the incidents took place on February 24 and till date, besides Noor, police have not been able to identify any other member of the “so-called unlawful assembly”.
“It is noteworthy that in all three cases in hand, only a single accused has been chargesheeted. In terms of Section 141 IPC (Indian Penal Code), to constitute an ‘unlawful assembly’, there has to be at least five members, which admittedly is lacking in all three cases in hand… The identification of the applicant by police witnesses is hardly of any consequence to the prosecution,” it said.
“The investigating agency is blowing the trumpet that investigation of the cases are underway and remaining persons of the ‘unlawful assembly’ have to be identified and arrested in the matter. The chargesheets in the matter have already been filed. The incidents in the matter took place on February 24 and till date, besides the applicant, the investigating agency has not been able to identify any other member of the so-called ‘unlawful assembly’. The applicant cannot be made to incarcerate in jail for infinity just on the ground that the investigation of the cases are going on,” the court said.
It further said that it also does not appeal to the senses that initially the three complainants, which became the basis for registration of FIRs in the cases, did not specifically name Noor Mohd, but later on, after about 40 days of the incidents, all of them identified him at Khajuri Khas police station.
It further said there was no electronic evidence available against him, either in the form of any CCTV footage or his call data record location, which could prima facie show his presence at the scene of crime on the date of incident. The court, however, clarified that anything stated in the order should not be construed as expressing any opinion on the final merits of the cases, as they were at “pre-cognizance/pre-committal stage”.
The cases were registered on complaints by Giyanender Kumar Kochar, Hanif and Sanjay Kumar Goyal.
Kochar alleged in his complaint that on February 24, his shop was vandalised by a riotous mob due to which he suffered a loss of about Rs 12 lakh. Hanif alleged his tailor shop was vandalised by rioters due to which he suffered a loss of about Rs 5 lakh, and Goyal alleged the mob set fire to his medical shop.
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