When the Delhi Police opposed the bail of a Northeast Delhi riots accused, saying he was a “bad character” in the area to oppose the bail, a Delhi court observed that the man cannot languish in jail just because of that tag.
The observations were made by Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav, who granted bail to Neeraj on furnishing a personal bond of Rs 20,000 with one surety of the like amount. He has been directed by court to maintain peace and harmony in the locality, not influence witnesses or tamper with evidence, and install the Aarogya Setu app.
During the bail hearing, Special Public Prosecutor Naresh Kumar Gaur told the court that Neeraj was wanted in the case of theft and vandalism during the riots in Bhajanpura. Eight complaints were clubbed into a single FIR, and Naresh was arrested on the basis of a disclosure by a co-accused, Manish.
“Although there may not be any independent evidence of identification of the applicant in this matter, yet he was identified by beat staff, namely head constable Manoj and constable Yogesh… It is further argued that the applicant is involved in 10 cases of riots. Besides, being a previous convict, he is the ‘bad character (BC)’ of the area, and if released on bail at this stage, he may threaten the witnesses,” Gaur argued before the court.
Ashok Kumar, counsel for the accused, told the court that there was no electronic evidence such as CCTV footage or call records against his client.
ASJ Yadav observed, “Firstly, the prosecution has not been able to differentiate the role of the applicant in the matter from that of co-accused Manish, who has been released on bail. Secondly, there is no connecting evidence of identification of the applicant in the matter except for his own disclosure statement. Thirdly, there is no independent eyewitness in the matter, who could be extended threats by the applicant, if released on bail.
Fourthly, the applicant cannot be made to languish in jail in the present matter merely on account of the fact that he is a ‘bad character’ of the area. The identification of the applicant by beat staff is hardly of any consequences to the prosecution. There is no electronic evidence on record against the applicant. The investigation in the matter is complete.”
The court clarified that the observations made during the bail hearing “shall not be construed as expressing any opinion on the final merits of the case, as the case is at ‘pre-cognizance stage’.”
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