Observing that police were in a “state of inscrutable indolence”, a Delhi court requested the force to ensure fair investigation in a Northeast Delhi riots case. It was brought to the court’s notice that police were yet to seize or preserve relevant video footage from cameras installed at Jafrabad and Maujpur Metro stations and from photographers.
Stressing on the importance of the video footage as a piece of evidence in the case, Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana requested the DCP concerned to personally monitor the probe and ensure that the “sterling image of Delhi Police remains blemish-free, and the flow of the course of justice remains unsullied”.
The order was passed by ASJ Rana while extending the judicial custody of Pinjra Tod activists Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal, and former Congress municipal councillor Ishrat Jahan till August 14. They are being investigated by the Delhi Police Special Cell in a UAPA case pertaining to the Delhi riots.
“They say a picture is worth a thousand words and a video is worth a thousand pictures. Police seem to be in a state of inscrutable indolence in collection of relevant video footage. The indolence is a cause of concern as evidence in criminal matters is invariably ephemeral in nature…,” the court said in its order.
It noted that during the course of arguments on the plea by Kalita for a court-monitored probe, the investigating officer had informed the court that police were in the process of collecting relevant video footage, including from Metro stations and photographers engaged by police.
“Regretfully, ACP Hriday Bushan and inspector Anil Kumar have failed to point out the seizure of the relevant video footage,” the court recorded. It added that police failed to show if any request/notice was served upon Metro officials for preservation of video footage, so as to save important footage.
“This is not the task of this court to direct police as to how and what evidence is required to be collected. However, this court is duty bound to ensure a fair investigation,” it said.
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