A Northeast Delhi riots accused, arrested in connection with the murder of Delhi Police head constable Ratan Lal, applied for bail before a Delhi court and sought to know from the investigating officer if the chargesheet in the case was complete or if investigation is ongoing.
Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav, dismissing the bail plea of applicant Mohd Saleem Khan, observed, “This court cannot permit a roving/fishing inquiry during judicial proceedings in this matter as sought to be done through this application.” Khan’s counsel Mehmood Pracha filed the application to bring on record certain facts of the case. He argued that “IO of the case filed two supplementary chargesheets to plug in the lacunas”, and pointed out that “investigation was not concluded/closed by the IO qua the applicant at the time of filing chargesheet”.
Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad, appearing for Delhi Police, argued that “there is no provision in law under which such an application can be filed… therefore, the same is not maintainable”. The SPP further argued that “right of the investigating agency to investigate the case cannot be curtailed by filing such application. Accused cannot command the process of disposal of proceedings and put the court to terms”.
Prasad also told the court that “there is no bar in law against the investigating agency to further investigate the matter after filing the chargesheet and supplementary chargesheet”.
ASJ Yadav observed, “In my considered opinion, riot cases cannot be equated with other criminal cases where accused and victims stand clearly identified and police just has to collect evidence against accused. In riot cases, police has to first obtain CCTV or video footage of the incident and then identify persons present at the scene of crime… and it is very difficult to clearly identify each person in one go and investigate the matter.”
ASJ Yadav also said he was conscious of the fact that police were busy with Covid management, “therefore, one can really not say as to whether police loses its right to further investigate the matter or to continue to investigate qua unidentified rioters”.
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