The Delhi Police will appoint a panel of 20 lawyers to ensure a “speedy trial” in connection with riots in northeast Delhi in February. The prosecutors will handle around 700 cases filed with respect to the riots so far. Police are also planning to request the Delhi High Court to assign a special court for all the cases.
Sources told The Indian Express that the decision was taken by Delhi Police Commissioner S N Shrivastava after a discussion with senior officers of Delhi Police Crime Branch. He will write to L-G Anil Baijal for approval.
“A meeting was called by Shrivastava in which he discussed the current status of all the cases and was informed that more than 800 arrests have been made despite the lockdown, especially after the Home Ministry asked Delhi Police to ensure the probe does not slow down. The northeast district police are probing cases of assault during violence, vandalism, and robbery. All units of crime branch are probing murder cases, while the Special Cell, the anti-terror wing of Delhi Police, is probing the larger conspiracy behind the riots,” said an officer.
Last week, a meeting of all the shortlisted advocates was called by the officers of the legal cell at the Delhi Police Headquarters (PHQ). Officers from the northeast district and crime branch were also part of the meeting.
“All the advocates have been briefed properly as they have to coordinate with the crime branch and district police to help them prepare a watertight chargesheet,” police sources added.
The Indian Express has learnt that Delhi Police have arrested 802 people so far in connection with the riots.
The crime branch, probing 42 murder cases, has made 182 arrests, while the northeast district police have arrested 620 people in connection with the riots. Out of the 182 arrested, 50 were nabbed during the lockdown.
The Special Cell, meanwhile, has arrested the president of the Alumni Association of Jamia Millia Islamia, Shifa-Ur-Rehman (43), under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in connection with the riots, along with Jamia student and RJD’s youth wing president Meeran Haider and Jamia Coordination Committee media coordinator Safoora Zargar.
Officers said the lawyers have been selected on the basis of their experience – a minimum of 10 years – and expertise. Issues regarding their fee have also been discussed, officials said.
“All the advocates have requested that a special court be set up for the trial in either Patiala House Court or Rouse Avenue Court,” an officer said.
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