Granting bail to United Against Hate founder Khalid Saifi in a Northeast Delhi riots case, a Delhi court observed that he was chargesheeted without any application of mind by police, which goes to the extent of vindictiveness.
Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav Wednesday granted bail to Saifi on furnishing a personal bond of Rs 20,000. However, he will not be released from Tihar Jail since he is in judicial custody in connection with a UAPA case being investigated by the Special Cell.
Saifi was accused of being a part of a criminal conspiracy for the Delhi riots in the present case. He was arrested by Delhi Police Crime Branch on the statement of constable Sangram Singh, who was chased by a mob on February 24 in Chandbagh Pulia area. He hid inside a parking lot, but the mob broke open the shutters, assaulted everyone inside and set fire to multiple vehicles.
The court, in its order said, “The sole evidence of this so-called conspiracy is a statement of PW (prosecution witness)… wherein he stated on 27.09.2020 that he was standing outside a building in… Shaheen Bagh, where he had dropped principal accused Tahir Hussain and, thereafter, he saw applicant and Umar Khalid going into the same building. I fail to understand from the aforesaid statement how a lofty claim of conspiracy can be inferred. In my humble opinion, chargesheeting the applicant in this case on the basis of such insignificant material is total non-application of mind by the police which goes to the extent of vindictiveness.”
The court said this witness merely talks about the meeting but does not talk about the subject matter.
The court also found it relevant that police made this person a witness in the UAPA case – which also deals with criminal conspiracy – but in his statement under Section 161 CrPC recorded on May 21, “he did not utter a single word against the applicant qua criminal conspiracy” and “now, all of a sudden, he blew the trumpet of criminal conspiracy” against Saifi in the present case.
“This prima facie does not appeal to the senses,” the court said.
Senior Advocate Rebecca John, who appeared on behalf of Saifi, had argued that he “has been roped in the matter merely on the basis of his own disclosure statement and disclosure statement of co-accused Tahir Hussain”.
The court noted that it was a matter of record that Saifi was not physically present at the crime scene, was not visible in any CCTV footage or viral videos, and even his CDR location has not been found at the scene of crime. It also said the argument that Saifi was in touch with Khalid and Hussain over mobile phone and their CDR location on January 8 was found at Shaheen Bagh is “hardly of any consequence” as it “does not in any way go on to establish criminal conspiracy alleged against the applicant in the matter”.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines