Despite the investigation into the Northeast Delhi communal riots hitting hurdles during the lockdown, more than 800 arrests have been made, after the Home Ministry asked Delhi Police to ensure the probe does not slow down. The MHA directive came after some teams of the Crime Branch started working from home and stopped visiting the Northeast district, where they had set up a camp office during the probe. The pace of arrests had also slowed down.
“But the situation changed two weeks ago when a meeting was called by senior MHA officials to discuss preparation by the Delhi Police during the lockdown. During the meeting, they were also asked about progress in the riots cases. Police chief S N Shrivastava apprised them of the situation, and MHA insisted that police must continue making arrests under any circumstances,” said a highly placed source.
A message was conveyed to all investigation teams to resume the probe and make arrests. The Indian Express has learnt that 802 arrests have been made so far. The crime branch, probing 42 murder cases, has made 182 arrests, while the Northeast district police has arrested 620 people in connection with the riots. Out of the 182 arrested, 50 were nabbed during the lockdown.
On Thursday too, an investigation team probing murder cases connected to the violence in Dayalpur visited the house of a suspect. But minutes later, they had to rush out and sanitise themselves as the suspect’s father had high fever and cough.
Police said teams have been told to take precautions before making any arrest or carrying out a raid, and that personal protective equipment kits have been provided to them.
“They have been asked to carry temperature guns. After detaining suspects, teams provide them masks and sanitisers. They are then taken for a screening test before being produced before a magistrate,” said an officer.
On the arrests, police sources said: “Earlier, three-four murder cases were registered in one FIR; now, separate FIRs have been registered for every case. The Crime Branch has also arrested two more persons from Uttar Pradesh’s Sambhal in connection with IB staffer Ankit Sharma’s murder for providing shelter to the murder accused.”
On investigation into the death of 24-year-old Faizan — who was seen lying injured on the ground in a video which also has men in police gear telling him and four others to sing the national anthem — police said the SIT is looking into the role of the paramilitary force as no one from Delhi Police was deployed there.
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