'No Logical Ground in Clubbing Complaints': Court Raps Delhi Police Over 2020 Riots Probe Again

Acquitting three Muslim men, Additional Sessions Judge Pulastya Pramachala hauled up Delhi police for clubbing as many as 27 complaints without proper investigation.

New Delhi: A court has once again rapped the Delhi Police over the quality of its investigation into the 2020 riots in the city’s northeastern areas.

Acquitting three Muslim men, Additional Sessions Judge Pulastya Pramachala hauled up police for clubbing as many as 27 complaints without logic and proper investigation into them.

Such was the erratic nature of the clubbing of complaints that the judge, according to LiveLaw‘s report, noted during the hearing that “it is very difficult to assume that it would have been a mob of persons from Muslim community, who would have been chanting slogan of ‘Jai Shree Ram’ while indulging in riot and vandalism.”

The court has quashed charges levelled against three men – Akil Ahmed, Raheesh Khan and Irshad – booked over the destruction of a shop at Chandu Nagar on the Karawal Nagar Road, noting that the charges against them are not proved beyond reasonable doubt.

The complainant in this case had alleged that he had suffered losses of Rs 6 to 7 lakhs. The Dayalpur police station later added more complaints to Danish’s, citing temporal and geographical proximity.

Akil Ahmed’s counsel, advocate Mehmood Pracha, representing Akil Ahmed, told the court that the investigating officer had allegely made “attempts to plant stock witnesses and make sensational and exaggerated accusations against the accused with ulterior motives,” according to LiveLaw. Advocate Salim Malik, who represented the other two accused, also pleaded their innocence.

The court highlighted various discrepancies – that of serial numbers (15 was missing), the names of complainants being mentioned twice in the same FIR and the fact that the list effectively referred to 23 additional complaints (against the claimed total of 27).

Also read: Three Years Since the Delhi Riots, We Are Left With the Fruits of an Extraordinary System

The court also said that the investigating officer’s responses to the court had made it clear that while chargesheeting the accused, he only considered evidence relevant to the Danish shop incident and not the other complaints clubbed with it.

The court also noted that complainants’ allegations naming people who were present at the site of the violence were also ignored by investigating authorities.

“Thus, it is amply clear that all the additional complaints clubbed in this case were not completely investigated,” said the court, according to LiveLaw. The court also noted that there was no “logical ground” in clubbing the FIRs and that this was done in a “very casual manner.”

This is the latest in the long list of times when the Delhi Police has been criticised by various courts for its attitude in investigating the riots.

A trial court in November 2022 pulled up the Delhi Police for presenting “irrelevant” witnesses and gave it a “last warning to wake up”.

In August 2022, a court discharged six accused, and slammed the relevant investigation, calling it “incongruous”. Notably, a man who was a complainant in the matter and suffered a gunshot while escaping the riotous mob was himself named as an accused in the case.

In 2021, a court discharged three accused, including former Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) councillor Tahir Hussain’s brother Shah Alam, calling the probe “callous and indolent”.

“I am not able to restrain myself from observing that when history will look back at the worst communal riots since partition in Delhi, it is failure of investigating agency to conduct proper investigation by using latest scientific methods will surely torment the sentinels of democracy,” Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav had said.

Police have also been accused of shielding political participants like Bharatiya Janata Party leader Kapil Mishra who made an incendiary speech in the day leading up to the riot, while still keeping academics and rights activists – most of whom are Muslim – behind bars.