Investigating officer recorded the complainant’s statement to cover up a defect, recovery of stolen air compressor tank from the house of the accused was a “gross violation”, and the accused seen carrying a stick in a video did it “probably with an intention” save his family from rioters — these are some points that a Delhi court raised while pulling up Delhi Police during the bail hearing of a 25-year-old man.
The man, Sumit, has been accused in two complaints — setting a shop on fire as well as for stealing a scooter, auto wheel parts worth 7 lakh and a Rs 2.5 lakh air-compressor from a tyre/puncture repair shop during the Northeast Delhi riots.
Sumit was granted bail even though he was seen carrying a stick and walking around the fire on February 24. In his order, Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav wrote that from the video, his behavior was “cool, calm and composed… He simply appears be walking around the fire with a rod/stick in his hand, probably thinking of some way(s) to douse the fire. Admittedly, applicant did not go to any other street/gali with said rod/stick… instead he is just seen roaming/strolling around his shop, probably with an intention to save it from rioters, as his family resides on the first floor.”
Sumit’s counsel R K Kochar had argued that the complainant in the second case, Yakub, used to be Sumit’s tenant and that relations between them were strained as he was asked to vacate for not paying his electricity bill. He argued that the IO manipulated Yakub’s statement in his “zeal to work out the case”.
In this case, two complaints were clubbed into one as police said they were of the same date. The court said, “There is no eyewitness who has given evidence in this regard… If complaints of both complainants could be legally clubbed… is again debatable as they were of two dates. However, IO tried to cover up the defect by recording statement of complainant Yakub on 18.03.2020 to the effect that incident in his case took place on 25.02.2020 instead of 24.02.2020…”
On recovery of air compressor tank from Sumit’s house, the court said without taking independent witnesses and taking only police witnesses to the discovery would “render the discovery, at least, not free from doubt”. “It is noted that the same has been recovered in absence of any independent public witness(es)… Investigating agency has neither bothered to join any independent public witness(es) while effecting recovery… to lend some credibility… nor given any cogent explanation for failure to do so…,” the order read.
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