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Monday, November 29, 2021

NE riots: Court asks police to probe if attempt was made to shield five discharged for lack of evidence

Additional Sessions Judge Virender Bhat discharged the five men who were accused of being part of a mob that looted a Muslim man's house and a medical store.

Written by Anand Mohan J | New Delhi |
November 24, 2021 11:19:03 am
The court said that the perusal of the chargesheet does not indicate whether or not were any efforts made by the IO to trace any other witness to the incident in question. (Representational)

A Delhi court has ordered the police to investigate whether a deliberate attempt was made to shield five men who were discharged in a northeast Delhi riots case.

Additional Sessions Judge Virender Bhat discharged the five men who were accused of being part of a mob that looted a Muslim man’s house and a medical store. Police stated that the rioters took away medicines and cosmetics worth about Rs 22-23 lakh.

The court said that as the accused were let off due to lack of evidence, it ordered the northeast DCP to conduct an enquiry into the “manner in which the investigation was conducted by the Investigating Offcer (IO) in this case to find out whether or not there had been any deliberate attempt to shield the offenders”. The court said that the accused were not discharged because the incident did not take place or that they were falsely implicated.

The court had relied on Supreme court guidelines while dealing with the evidence pertaining to the commission of an offence involving a large number of offenders and a large number of victims. ASJ Bhat said that in order to convict a person, at least two prosecution witnesses have to support and identify the role and involvement of the accused persons.

The court observed that in this case, it was just the complainant who was a prosecution witness and that he did not identify any members of the mob at the time of the incident, but did so when he was shown their photographs by the police.

The court discharged the accused for lack of sufficient evidence. It, however, noted that material on record does clearly indicate that riotous incident has taken place

“This court is not insensitive towards the mental agony and the financial loss suffered by the complainant due to this incident. However, the sensitivity or the emotions alone are not the factors to be taken into consideration by the court while deciding the fate of any accused. These cannot take place of evidence,” the court said.

It observed that there should be sufficient and legally admissible evidence on the basis of which charges can be framed against an accused, which is lacking in the instant case.

The court said that the perusal of the chargesheet does not indicate whether or not were any efforts made by the IO to trace any other witness to the incident in question.

“It is not clear as to whether the IO chose not to find out any other witness or whether no other person came forward who had seen the incident in question,” the court said.

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