New Delhi: A Delhi court has discharged three men in a case related to the 2020 North-East Delhi riots, expressing suspicion that the investigating officer of the Delhi Police “manipulated evidence” and filed chargesheets in a “predetermined and mechanical manner”.
The judge has referred the matter back to the Delhi Police for an assessment of the investigation and to bring the complaints to a legal and logical end.
The three individuals – Akil Ahmad alias Papad, Rahish Khan, and Irshad – were accused of rioting, being part of an unlawful assembly, and committing vandalism during the riots.
According to LiveLaw, the court found inconsistencies in the chargesheets and subsequent statements, suggesting an attempt to cover up flaws in the prosecution’s case.
A first information report (FIR 71/2020) was registered at Dayalpur police station on the basis of a rukka prepared by an Assistant Sub-Inspector on February 28, 2020. (Rukka is just a complaint copy from which the contents are taken for filing FIRs.)
Later, the Investigating Officer clubbed several complaints made by Farooq Ahmad, Shahbaz Malik, Nadeem Farooq and Jai Shankar Sharma in the case, LiveLaw said.
A chargesheet was filed against the three persons on July 14, 2020, and cognisance of the same was taken on December 9, 2020.
Thereafter, two supplementary chargesheets were filed on February 15, 2022, and February 16 this year, along with certain documents and fresh statements.
The judge noted that in the first supplementary chargesheet, the investigating officer (IO) included three individuals as accused who were not mentioned in a constable’s statement.
Additionally, the court highlighted that until the court began questioning the timeline of events mentioned in the case, the IO consistently maintained in both the main and the first supplementary chargesheets that, except for one incident, all other reported incidents by various complainants occurred during the night between February 24 and 25, 2020.
The court further noticed that when the complaints were clubbed together, there was no record of the police being informed that the same group had been involved in acts of vandalism and arson from the night before until the information was recorded on the morning of February 25, 2020.
Furthermore, the court said that the subsequent statements from the complainants were documented primarily to hide the gaps in the prosecution’s case and to provide a basis for charging the accused individuals. The court also pointed out that the investigating officer failed to present any evidence demonstrating the accuracy of these subsequent statements.