Delhi riots: HC grants bail to 4 men; says no CCTV video or photo to connect them to incident

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New Delhi, Mar 16 (PTI) The Delhi High Court Tuesday granted bail to four men arrested for allegedly promoting enmity and disharmony by rioting, burning vehicles and instigating the mob during the communal violence in north-east Delhi last year, saying there was no CCTV footage or photo to connect them to the incident.

The high court said the accused arrested in March last year cannot be made to languish in jail for a longer time and the allegations can be tested during the trial.

“Moreover, there is no evidence against the petitioners such as CCTV footage, video clip or photo to connect the petitioners with the incident in question and nothing incriminating has been recovered from their possession. This court is informed that the charge sheet in this FIR case has already been filed and trial is in progress,” the high court said.

Justice Suresh Kumar Kait, in a combined order passed in the four cases, said: “In view of the above, without commenting on the merits of the case, prima facie I am of the opinion that the petitioners cannot be made to languish behind bars for a longer time and the veracity of allegations levelled against them can be tested during trial.” The high court directed that the accused -- Liyakat Ali, Arshad Qayyum, Gulfam and Irshad Ahmad -- be released on bail forthwith on furnishing of a personal bond of Rs 20,000 each with sureties of the like amount.

It directed them not to directly or indirectly influence the witnesses or tamper with evidence and asked them to appear in the court as and when directed.

The high court noted that the prosecution has examined four police officials, who claimed themselves to be eye witnesses to the incident and said it failed to understand why despite having good understanding of the law and order, a police official who is witness to the riots would neither call PCR nor make a DD entry in this regard.

“Besides, it is not disputed that the call detail record of prime accused Tahir Hussain does not match with those of petitioners,” it said.

While Ali, Qayyum and Gulfam were arrested on March 23, 2020, Ahmad was taken into custody on March 18 last year by Delhi Police for their alleged roles in the riots that took place in last week of February 2020 and had spread over the entire north east Delhi district.

The present FIR related to the incident of riots which occurred in the afternoon of February 24 last year in Chand Bagh area in Khajuri Khas here.

The complainant had alleged that the marriage of his brother’s daughter was fixed on February 25, 2020 and a day previous to the function, food was being prepared on the first floor of Bharat Vatika in Karawal Nagar.

On the same day, February 24 last year, a mob was present on the roof of suspended councillor and the then AAP leader Tahir Hussain and around the area and they were pelting stones and petrol bombs on the passers by, the complainant alleged.

A few of them broke open the shutter of the parking lot of Bharat Vatika and robbed the inmates. The mob burnt one of the parked vehicles and damaged the motorcycle of the complainant and the mob also destroyed the preparations going on for the marriage ceremony and looted a person there, it was alleged.

The complainant alleged that he can identify the accused persons along with Tahir Hussain, who is in judicial custody for his alleged role in the riots, and prayed for legal action against them and an FIR was lodged on February 27.

The accused are accused of various offences including promoting enmity and disharmony by rioting, burning the vehicles, destroying the food preparation at Bharat Vatika, stone pelting and instigating the mobs.

Communal clashes had broken out in north-east Delhi on February 24, 2020 after violence between citizenship law supporters and protesters spiralled out of control leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured. PTI SKV SA