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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Riots case: Delhi court questions police on witness statements

On February 1, the court had ordered police to register an FIR into the attack on the mosque by armed rioters and carry out a complete investigation.

Written by Anand Mohan J | New Delhi |
Updated: March 26, 2021 2:08:20 am
After the riots at Shiv Vihar.

Days after it pulled up police for arresting the complainant in a case of arson and vandalism at Madina Masjid, which was targeted by rioters during the Northeast Delhi riots, a Delhi court on Thursday said police may have recorded statements of witnesses after the last date of hearing.

On February 1, the court had ordered police to register an FIR into the attack on the mosque by armed rioters and carry out a complete investigation. On March 17, it had directed DCP (Northeast) to file a status report with regard to investigation carried out and summoned SHO (Karawal Nagar) on March 25 with the case diaries. It had also observed that police arresting the complainant, Haji Hashim Ali, was “an apparent absurdity”.

During Thursday’s hearing, after the DCP submitted his status report, Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav observed, “I have gone through the said file as well as case diaries. I have today signed all case diaries. The case diaries have not been maintained in terms of Section 172 CrPC. The bound volume, as mandated by CrPC, has not been maintained. The statements of witnesses have probably been recorded after 17.03.2021, i.e. the last date of hearing.”

The court said the “statements appear to have been recorded on computer and are digital documents, but the same bear physical signatures of the IO rather than digital signatures because of which it is not possible to ascertain as to whether the same were recorded on the date mentioned against the signatures of IO.”

Special Public Prosecutor Nitin Rai Sharma told the court that the investigation in the case was progressing and “appropriate steps shall be taken against the accused persons”.

The court then ordered police to produce the record of the original daily diary (DD) entry of the original mosque burning complaint, which police claimed has been added to another FIR. The court said it is “prima facie evident that this DD entry was not tagged with either” of the two FIRs in which the police said they added the DD entry.

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On February 25 last year, rioters broke into the mosque in Shiv Vihar after a power cut in the area and set two LPG cylinders on fire inside, causing an explosion. A saffron flag was later planted atop this mosque by a local, who has been named in the complaint along with two other persons.

Haji Hashim Ali had earlier filed a complaint regarding the arson as well as loot at his home in Shiv Vihar. Police clubbed his complaint with another man’s complaint, who reported arson at his shop, in which no accused person was named. Police registered an FIR in this case and arrested Ali based on CCTV footage, in which police claimed he was “clearly seen instigating the mob”. He was later granted bail.

M R Shamshad, who filed the application in court, had asked it to direct police to register a separate FIR into the arson at the mosque since this particular incident was clubbed with another FIR, making it “irrelevant”.

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