In its detailed order discharging former JNU student Umar Khalid and United Against Hate founder Khalid Saifi in the Northeast Delhi riots case, the Delhi court considered the fact that they were already facing similar allegations in a Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) case as a ground for their discharge.
The case was registered based on a statement by a constable who was on duty when a mob gathered in the Chandbagh area on February 24, 2020. When the constable tried to save himself by seeking shelter at a local parking lot, the mob allegedly broke the shutter of the parking lot and assaulted the people inside and also set the vehicles on fire. The court discharged Khalid and Saifi Saturday. The two will, however, continue to remain in judicial custody as they are yet to get bail in the UAPA case.
The prosecution had claimed that a building owned by former Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) councillor Tahir Hussain was used by the rioters for stone pelting purposes. Umar and Saifi were roped into this case allegedly because they were part of the criminal conspiracy, the prosecution had argued.
Additional Sessions Judge Pulastya Pramchala noted that the allegations made against Umar and Saifi relate to an umbrella conspiracy (UAPA case), rather than conspiracy peculiar to the incident investigated in this case.
“Since, umbrella conspiracy i.e. larger conspiracy to incite riots in Delhi, is already subject matter of consideration, therefore, these two accused are entitled for discharge in the present case,” court said.
The court had also discharged co-accused Tariq Moin Rizvi, Jagar Khan and Mohd Illiyas. It noted that the allegations that their harboured former AAP councillor Tahir Hussain are “based on either disclosure statement of accused persons or locations of their mobile phones or telephonic contact” and that Tahir’s disclosure statement or these accused persons, cannot be admissible in evidence.
The court, however, framed charges against Tahir Hussain, Liyakat Ali, Riyasat Ali, Shah Alam, Mohd Shadab, Mohd. Abid, Rashid Saifi, Gulfam, Arshad Qayyum, Irshad Ahmad and Mohd Rihan.
Framing charges against Hussain, the court noted that it was not necessary that he should also have physically visited this parking along with the mob and was sufficient to show that he was a member of that mob and the role imputed to him is to “instigate the mob to attack, to guide and to facilitate such attack, in order to accomplish the common object of this unlawful assembly”.