Delhi riots: Court pulls up police for clubbing FIRs, arresting complainant as 'apparent absurdity'

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New Delhi, Mar 17 (PTI) A court here on Wednesday pulled up the police for 'apparent absurdity' in clubbing a man's complaint about alleged burning down of his house during the north-east Delhi riots last year with another one and later arresting him in the same matter -- making him both a complainant and the accused.

It also said there was nothing on record about the investigation conducted in the FIR registered in February last year in the case of alleged burning and desecration of 'Madina Masjid' during the riots in Shiv Vihar area.

Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav directed the DCP (north-east) to file a report on the status of investigation in the case by March 25.

The court's observations came while hearing an appeal by the state against a magistrate court's order on February 1 for registration of an FIR on a complaint by Haji Hashim Ali regarding alleged desecration of the mosque.

Ali had also made a complaint regarding the burning of his house allegedly by the rioters which was clubbed by the police with the complaint of one Naresh Chand.

The police had registered a common FIR and later arrested Ali in the case. Ali is out on bail in the matter.

'It is really strange that the complaint with regard to burning of house of respondent no 1 (Ali) was clubbed with the complaint of one Naresh Chand, being case FIR No 72/2020, PS Karawal Nagar and later on the respondent no 1 was arrested in the same matter, meaning thereby that he is not only complainant in the matter, but also an accused, which is an apparent absurdity,' the court said in its order.

It directed the SHO of Police Station Karawal Nagar to remain present before it along with the investigation file and case diaries of the matter related to the mosque.

The court noted that the police did not inform the magistrate court that an FIR had already been registered in the mosque case on February 26, 2020.

It said: 'A perusal of the impugned order dated February 1, 2021, passed by Metropolitan Magistrate (MM) clarifies that the issue involved in the matter is with regard to burning and desecration of 'Madina Masjid', Shiv Vihar, Delhi on February 25, 2020. As per the version of police, already an FIR No 55/2020, PS Karawal Nagar has been registered in this regard on February 26, 2020, but no such averment was made by the police before the MM. 'Since the issue involved in this case is with regard to 'Madina Masjid', the specific complaint of complainant dated June 25, 2020 is on record, wherein he has named 15 persons as rioters, who had burnt and desecrated 'Madina Masjid'; however, there is nothing on record with regard to investigation conducted in case FIR No 55/2020, PS Karawal Nagar in the matter'.

During the hearing, advocate M R Shamshad, appearing for Ali, had submitted that according to the police the FIR in the mosque attack case was registered in February last year but they had filed various status reports in the last six years before the magistrate court without disclosing it.

Shamshad alleged that various wrong status reports were submitted before the magistrate court and the police disclosed the fact about the FIR exactly a year later.

'If it is the case of the Police that FIR was registered one year before, they would have filed the detailed status of investigation/trial,' he claimed.

Shamshad further alleged that FIR 55/2020 was set up at this stage without naming any accused.

'This entire process appears to be unreasonable shady and mala fide to somehow give a predetermined closure to the brutal attack on the religious place of the Muslims in the area,' he alleged.

Communal violence had broken out in northeast Delhi on February 24 last year after clashes between the Citizenship (Amendment) Act supporters and its protesters spiralled out of control leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured. PTI URD SA