Updated: September 15, 2020 12:40:02 pm
A day after former JNU student Umar Khalid was arrested, senior Delhi Police officers Monday said they were set to file a conspiracy chargesheet in the Northeast Delhi riots of February 2020, and identified blocking of traffic by anti-CAA protesters as “the first indicator that there was a conspiracy due to which it all started”.
Speaking at a webinar organised by the Delhi Police Gazetted Officers Association, which was also attended by Commissioner S N Shrivastava, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) Pramod Singh Kushwaha was quoted by PTI as saying they had not found any proof yet of the involvement of pro-CAA-NRC protesters.
Kushwaha said, “When we started investigating the Delhi riots, we first saw all the sites and found a common pattern that traffic jam was started at all the sites simultaneously. It was the first indicator that there was a conspiracy due to which it all started.”
With questions having been raised over the lack of action against BJP leader Kapil Mishra over his alleged inflammatory speech a day before the riots in the area, the DyCP was quoted as saying, “A narrative is being created that pro-CAA/NRC people were involved in it, but it has not come into the investigation yet.”
On Monday, the Delhi Police got 10-day custody of Khalid, who has been booked under the UAPA, on charges stemming from his participation in the anti-CAA protests. The Delhi Police Special Cell also questioned filmmakers Rahul Roy and Saba Dewan on Monday for around eight hours and has told them to join the investigation in connection with the riots.
Commenting on the criticism over Khalid’s arrest and the Delhi Police investigation of the case, Shrivastava said at the webinar, “As we are approaching the final end of this investigation, and as you know Umar Khalid was arrested so there is more sort of cry especially on social media, print media and also today the TV channels… (They) are trying to take away the sheen from the investigation. You know that people whom we investigate, many have very good social media presence.”
Shrivastava said the Delhi Police would file a chargesheet by Thursday in connection with the conspiracy case in the riots. “As it is nearing, there is more and more clamour and news… some attempt by some interest groups to discredit Delhi Police investigation. The Delhi Police has registered 751 cases and it has gone about it in a very fair and impartial manner and out of 751 cases, 340 have been solved. The remaining we have not got much leads in.”
As per the PTI report, Kushwaha said they had identified 25 protest sites, most of them in trans-Yamuna area, and that people who were part of it came from outside, and were not locals. “People kept on going to the protest sites again and again and they talked about the CAA-NRC so that more and more people would come there and it would look like a CAA-NRC protest was going on.
Seeking Khalid’s custody for 10 days, the Delhi Police told Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat on Monday that they wanted to confront him with documents running into 11 lakh pages.
Granting the police’s request, ASJ Rawat observed, “Considering the nature of the case and role of the accused Umar Khalid that has surfaced so far regarding the conspiracy and involvement in anti-CAA/NPR/NRC protest, with the support of several radical groups/organisations… I deem it fit that, for having an effective and proper investigation, to allow the present application for seeking police custody.”
Delhi riot chargesheet| As Apoorvanand, Yechury step up attack, police say probe meticulous
Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad said that “from examination of witnesses, it was revealed that accused Umar Khalid was coordinating the protest sites in Delhi with other radical groups”, and said his custody was required to “unearth a deep-rooted conspiracy”.
Trideep Pais, who appeared on behalf of Khalid, said police have stated no specific reason for the remand. Pointing out that Khalid had been questioned for five hours on July 31, and around 12 hours on Sunday before his arrest, Pais said, “What is their case? This application does not even say what they want to confront him with; they want to make (up) stuff as they go along. Whether it is a speech which provokes or not — isn’t it incumbent to say when did he speak, where did he speak?”
He also read out a transcript of Khalid’s speech, and said he had not even been in Delhi during the riots. “(His) Amravati speech is about peace… Even I am against the CAA, that is not a crime. What is the crime Umar is said to have committed? It is public knowledge that people have been pressured to give statements in police custody. They say he protested. Everyone protested… This application is not worth even a one-day custody.”
Prasad admitted that not much had been disclosed, but said this was needed under the UAPA, for maintaining “sanctity of the investigation”. —PTI inputs
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