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Delhi riots: Court dismisses allegation of accused coerced to sign documents in police custody

Shadab Ahmad, arrested under the stringent anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in the case, alleged in his application that while in police custody from August 24 to August 26, he was forced to sign documents without being allowed to read contents of the same.

By: Press Trust of India | New Delhi | September 21, 2020 7:48:07 pm
Man dies in Delhi Police custody, ASI suspendedA man, who was being questioned in a theft case, died in police custody at Lodhi Colony police station on Sunday.(Representational Image)

A Delhi court has rejected the allegation of an accused in the north east Delhi riots case that he was coerced to sign documents without knowing the contents in them during the police custody.

Shadab Ahmad, arrested under the stringent anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in the case, alleged in his application that while in police custody from August 24 to August 26, he was forced to sign documents without being allowed to read contents of the same.

Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat dismissed the application, saying during Ahmad’s police custody remand, he had physically met his counsel and also telephonically talked to him and hence it was highly improbable that he would not disclose such a thing to his lawyer.

“The allegation made in the application is that accused Shadab Ahmad was coerced to sign on certain papers during police custody remand from August 24 to August 26, 2020. The accused during his police custody remand had physically met his counsel and also telephonically talked to him. It is highly improbable that the accused will not disclose such a thing to his lawyer.

“Moreover, the application, filed on September 16, also lacks material particulars like number of pages, date when signatures were taken, etc,” the court said in its order passed on September 19.

It further noted that the counsel had made a prayer for seeking the documents produced by prosecution as forged and fabricated and after the police filed the reply, changed his prayer to not to dispose of the application but to keep it pending till final arguments.

“This is not permissible. The prosecution has stated that the application is an attempt to create defence,” it said.

The application alleged that he was sent to police custody for two days in the case, from August 24 to August 26, after which he was sent back to judicial custody.

It said that Ahmad’s counsel was able to conduct a legal meeting through video conferencing on September 2, during which he disclosed the alleged incident.

It further sought that any document produced with the signature of the accused before the court or any other court be deemed as “forged and fabricated”.

Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad, appearing for the police, opposed the application saying it lacked material particulars as to on what date and what time Ahmad was allegedly coerced to sign papers despite the fact that his counsel had legal interview during the course of police custody remand, as well as telephonic communication in terms of orders passed by the court.

The public prosecutor submitted that the application was completely devoid of legal merits and even after he was being sent back to judicial custody, he did not file such application at the first instance. He claimed that the application was nothing but an abuse of process of court with an attempt to create defence.

To this, Ahmad’s counsel submitted that on August 25, he was allowed to talk to Ahmad for two minutes over the phone.

The phone call was made by the police and handed over to Ahmad when his lawyer answered the phone, his lawyer said and added that it was highly unlikely that the accused would say anything over the phone with the call being facilitated by the police during custody.

Ahmad was to remain in police custody for one day more and was apprehensive about disclosing such information, his lawyer claimed.

He further submitted that he was in COVID-19 quarantine after being sent to judicial custody and hence his lawyer was able to meet him only on September 2, when he disclosed about the alleged incident.

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