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Delhi riots: In murder of 85-year-old, key accused caught on eight videos says police

Calling the videos “direct/electronic evidence,” that identified all the accused, the police have also placed on record disclosure statements of four accused who were shown these  videos to establish the identity of the co-accused.

Written by Kaunain Sheriff M | New Delhi | Updated: July 8, 2020 12:06:35 pm
Delhi riots: In murder of 85-year-old, key accused caught on eight videos says police Akbari Begum died of suffocation, burn injuries

AS many as eight videos identifying the murder accused at the scene of the crime have been placed on record by the Delhi Police in its chargesheet related to the murder of 85-year-old Akbari Begum who died of suffocation and burn injuries during the Delhi riots.

These videos were recorded by eyewitnesses and capture, in chilling detail, according to police transcripts, the sequence of events: how Akbari Begum’s family was trapped on the rooftop of the house in Bhajanpura — the elderly victim couldn’t reach there — and how the accused walked out of the house after setting it ablaze.

The six accused are: Arun Kumar (26), Varun Kumar (22), Vishal Singh (29), Ravi Kumar (24), Prakash Chand (36) and Suraj Singh (28). All are in judicial custody. The chargesheet was filed in the court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Karkardooma.

Calling the videos “direct/electronic evidence,” that identified all the accused, the police have also placed on record disclosure statements of four accused who were shown these  videos to establish the identity of the co-accused. The complainant in the case is Mohd Saeed Salmani, the son of the victim.

“The arrested accused persons and other members of the mob with common intent took to active rioting and set on fire the house of the complainant, in which an innocent old lady was killed. The complainant is an entrepreneur and had a small stitching unit in this building, through which he earned his livelihood. By burning the building, the rioters have caused huge financial losses and put an entire family in great economic peril…the accused persons had no personal enmity…but took to violence due to communal frenzy,” said the chargesheet.

There are “several individuals,” in the videos who have their faces covered and “sincere efforts” are on to identify them, the chargesheet said.

At the heart of the case are the videos. Their key highlights, as outlined in the chargesheet:

* Video clip 1, 1.04 minutes: Accused Varun Kumar is “seen coming out of complainant’s house, while the house in set on fire”.

*Video clip 2, 3.12 minutes: Accused Suraj Singh and Ravi Kumar “are clearly seen as active members of the rioting mob.” Another video shot from the rooftop by one of Salmani’s employees corroborates this.

* Video clip 2 A: “Family members and employees of the complainant are seen trapped on the rooftop of the scene of crime and thick black some is coming out of this house.”

*Video clip 3: Accused Ravi Kumar and Prakash Chand are “seen as part of the mob”. The cellphone that recorded the video “was very much active” at the crime scene on that day and at that time. A second video corroborates the presence of these two.

*Video clip 4 : “Shops near the crime scene being set on fire… accused Arun Kumar, Varun Kumar, Suraj Singh and Vishal Singh are seen as active part of mob.”

The police has also placed on record the confession statements recorded under section 161 of CrPC.

In his disclosure, Prakash Chand said, “You have shown me photos and videos. I have seen them and told you that I have identified myself in the video. You have shown me the photos of the video, in which I have identified Pawan, Arun and Ravi.”

Suraj Singh’s disclosure reads: “On the basis of the videos shown by you, I have identified Lalit Kumar. In the crowd, besides me, there is Vishal Singh. Also, there Arun and Varun; who were with me when we set the big building on fire.”

Vishal Singh’s disclosure reads: “Today, who have shown me the video. On the basis of this, I have told you that the person who is wearing black clothes and indulging in stone-pelting is me.”

Ravi Kumar’s disclosure reads: “I have seen the video shown by you. There is a person who is covering his face with a cloth. That is me.”

The police have said that the source mobile phones seized from different individuals, who shot the videos have been referred to forensic laboratory “for the purposes of analysis as to whether the said videos are altered, edited, or otherwise, and also to recover any deleted item, which (relates) to incidents of riots.” The opinion is still awaited, the chargesheet states.

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