Delhi Riots | 'Complete Lack of Supervision, FIRs Clubbed to Protect Accused': Court Slams Police

'The investigating agency has evidently been found to be on the wrong side of law,' ASJ Vinod Yadav noted.

New Delhi: A Delhi court on Monday, April 26, observed that the Delhi Police’s senior officers have displayed a “complete lack of supervision” in investigation into several cases of the Delhi riots of February 2020.

Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav also noted that the practice of clubbing several FIRs into one has been used to “protect the accused” in the violence, Indian Express has reported.

ASJ Yadav made the observations while dismissing a revision petition filed by Delhi Police against an order by a magisterial court to lodge separate FIRs on the complaint of one Nishar Ahmed.

The sessions court noted that instead of filing two FIRs, the police had clubbed Ahmed’s complaint with another plea, that was related to only a single incident that took place on February 25, 2020, without realising that his complaint disclosed the acts of two separate dates – February 24 and another of February 25.

“I do not find any substance in the present petition filed by the State. The investigating agency has evidently been found to be on the wrong side of law. This Court has found in several cases of riots in the entire length and breadth of police stations in north-east Delhi that there was complete lack of supervision of the investigation(s) by the senior police officers of the District,” ASJ Yadav noted.

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He also added that remedial measures were required in the matter.

“All is not over yet. If the senior officers now look into the matter(s) and take remedial measures required in the matter(s), so that justice could be given to the victims,” the judge said.

Ahmed had had said that on February 25, 2020 a riotous mob vandalised and looted his house in Gokalpuri area and set fire to his two motorcycles parked outside.

He also claimed that the incident took place after a clarion call was given on February 24, 2020 to the persons of a particular community to vandalise and set on fire the houses of persons of another community.

Ahmad claimed that the police took down “a very small complaint regarding a theft” when, on March 18, at the Eidgah relief camp in Mustafabad, he had given a detailed account of the incident, Express reported.

The police had clubbed his complaint with an FIR that was related to the incidents that took place on February 25, 2020 without mentioning anything about February 24, 2020 incident.

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“There are clear allegations by the respondent against the named police official(s) of PS Gokalpuri, who had refused to register FIR on his complaint and forced him to give merely complaint of theft (complaint dated 04.03.2020),” the court observed, according to Indian Express.

He had approached a magisterial court, which had directed the police to lodge two separate FIRs, one related to the incidents of February 24 and the another of February 25.

The police, however, approached the sessions court against the order passed by the Metropolitan Magistrate. This was rejected by ASJ Yadav on Monday.

“Even the offence of criminal conspiracy, prima facie made out in relation to February 24 incident, was not been invoked by Delhi Police in any of the cases where either the respondent is complainant or witness,” the judge noted.

He also said that he did not find “even semblance of investigation with regard to the criminal conspiracy hatched by the persons named in complaint dated 18.03.2020” either by investigating officer or by the Special Cell.

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The judge also observed that there has been “clear diversions of action/investigation by the police” in a case where “the persons who participated at the protest site in the capacity of organisers have been made accused persons.” The protest ostensibly refers to one against the Citizenship Amendment Act. The Delhi Police has been criticised over naming anti-CAA protesters as accused in the riots repeatedly while overlooking the roles of active participants of the violence.

Express reported that the judge also noted that “in many cases, 25 complaints have been clubbed into a single FIR having different dates of incidents, different complainants, different witnesses and different set of accused persons,” in a practice that sought to “protect the accused, even if the offence is same.”

On April 7, a Delhi court had pointed out in no uncertain terms, the Delhi Police’s laxity in investigating the burning of the Madina Mosque mosque during the riots.

On March 26, ASJ Yadav had expressed dissatisfaction with Delhi Police for not having maintained files in connection with the probe into the desecration of the Masjid.

(With PTI inputs)