‘No Evidence’ to Link Former Councillor Tahir Hussain to Delhi Riots, Says Counsel

Javed Ali told The Wire that the alleged 'confession' being publicised by the police through various media outlets is inadmissible in court.

New Delhi: Former municipal councillor Tahir Hussain was himself a victim of the northeast Delhi riots and his ‘confession’ which Delhi police has obtained and filed as an attachment with the chargesheet is not admissible in court, said his advocate Javed Ali.

Ali spoke to The Wire on the alleged confession document which went viral on some social media sites earlier this week.

With regards to the ‘confession’, which was recorded by the police soon after Hussain’s arrest in early March and now constitutes a part of interrogation reports submitted in court, Ali said “such confessions are written and typed by the police before they take the person’s signature on them”. As such, he said, these have no legal validity.

Pointing out that only a confessional statement made before the magistrate under Section 164 of CrPC is admissible in the eyes of law, he insisted that “Tahir Hussain has never given any such statement”. He also insisted that the police have no evidence to support its claims.

Hussain always claimed that he was a victim of the violence

Incidentally, Hussain, who was AAP councillor from Nehru Vihar, was booked for the kidnapping and murder of Intelligence Bureau employee Ankit Sharma during the three days of violence that rocked North East Delhi from February 24. Later, the police also slapped cases of rioting and arson against him as visuals surfaced of his building in Khajuri Khas being used to throw stones and petrol bombs.

Also read: Delhi Riots: Crime Branch Arrests Tahir Hussain’s Three Associates

Hussain had pleaded innocence and claimed that he knew nothing about who used his building to launch attacks on the surrounding areas. He also claimed that BJP leader Kapil Mishra was behind the conspiracy to frame him.

On the police still persisting with its charges despite Hussain’s denial, Ali said that from the sequence of events which Hussain had narrated, it was clear that he was not present in the building when it was taken over by people for mischief.

Hussain was arrested for IB officer’s murder, rioting

In fact, The Wire had reported Hussain’s version on how he had repeatedly asked for police help and had fled the building after the police reached the premises the same evening following his calls to some senior officers. After the police reached the building, Hussain and his family were escorted to safety. He returned to the premises with his wife the following day and left while the police were still present there. Hussain had claimed that it was after the police left that the premises was taken over by rioters.

In its chargesheet filed in the case on June 3, the police had accused Hussain and nine others of murdering Sharma, whose body was found in a Chand Bagh drain on February 26.

How police ‘linked’ anti-CAA protests to riots

In its interrogation reports, submitted in court, the Delhi police alleged that through an acquaintance, Khalid Saifi, Hussain met student leader Umar Khalid at the Popular Front of India (PFI) office in Shaheen Bagh on January 8 with the intention of planning riots in North East Delhi.

According to the police, Hussain wanted to “teach Hindus a lesson” by using his political position and money.

An earlier chargesheet had said the three had decided in their January 8 meeting to use the visit of US president Donald Trump to embarrass the Indian government. However, the first public announcement or reporting of Trump’s visit happened several days after this plot was allegedly hatched.

The interrogation report of the police further alleged that Hussain was aggrieved with the scrapping of Article 370 and the Supreme Court’s judgment in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit. The Delhi Police had also linked Hussain to anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protesters.

Also read: Delhi Riots 2020: The Curious Case of Tahir Hussain and Ankit Sharma

During the meeting, the police claimed that Saifi, who was founder of ‘United Against Hate’, said a PFI member, Danish, were willing to provide financial assistance for the “war against Hindus”.

Of the 53 people killed in the riots, according to the police’s own data, were Muslim. And over 80% of the shops and houses damaged in the violence belonged to Muslims.

The Delhi Police claimed that Hussain was tasked with collecting petrol, acid, stones and glass bottles on the rooftop of his house in Chand Bagh.

Police also linked the anti-CAA protests at Khureji near Shaheen Bagh with the violence by saying that it was Saifi who arranged these protests with his friend Ishrat Jahan.

As for Khalid, the interrogation reports said, he gave an assurance that he would raise finances from PFI, the Jamia C0-ordination Committee (JCC), some advocates, Muslim organisations and political people.

Also read: Delhi Riots: ED Books Tahir Hussain, PFI for Money Laundering

The police also claimed that Hussain confessed that he met Saifi again on February 4 to plan the riots and that they decided to do so during US President Donald Trump’s visit to India in order to mount greater pressure on the Centre.

‘A plan’

As for Hussain’s claim that his family had itself left the Chand Bagh building and taken shelter elsewhere, the Delhi police claimed that he shifted them to a “safer place” so that they were not harmed. It further charged that the councillor had removed all CCTV cameras so that no evidence was left of his doings.

They also insisted that he kept calling Delhi police officers on the day of the riots so that no one suspected him.

Counsel says police have no evidence to support charges

Ali questioned the interrogation reports saying “the Delhi police has not been able to substantiate its claims with evidence”. He insisted that Hussain has not admitted to anything with regard to Delhi riots cases. “He is himself a victim who is being implicated in the case.”

The case, he said, was moving slowly since more urgent matters were being taken up. Hussain is still in jail. Three weeks ago, a Delhi court had rejected his bail plea. While doing so, additional sessions judge Vinod Yadav observed, “He did not use his hands and fists, but rioters as ‘human weapons’, who on his instigation could have killed anybody.”