First Verdict of Delhi Riots: Court Acquits Man, Says Police 'Miserably Failed' to Prove Case

The sole accused in the case was one Suresh alias Bhatura.

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New Delhi: In the first verdict on north-east Delhi riots, a court here on Tuesday acquitted a man of rioting and dacoity charges while noting that the prosecution “miserably failed” to prove its case.

Freeing sole-accused Suresh alias Bhatura, Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat said the prosecution has not been able to prove its case against the accused as no incriminating material has come up against him.

“It is well apparent that the prosecution has miserably failed to prove its case, forget about beyond reasonable doubts. All major witnesses are at variance with each other on material terms impacting the prosecution version,” ASJ Rawat said in a 21-page judgment.

Furthermore, he said there was no testimony that connected the accused to the offence in question, and his identification is not established at all.

Notably, the prosecution had examined a total of seven witnesses which included the complainant, an eye witness, public witness, duty officer, assistant sub-inspector, head constable, and the investigating officer of the case.

While pronouncing the order through the video conferencing earlier in the day, the judge had mentioned that it was a clear-cut case of acquittal.

Also read: ‘Witness Accounts Undated, Not Named in Complaint’: Court Grants Delhi Riots Accused Bail

This is the first judgment in the case concerning the riots that broke out in northeast Delhi in February 2020.

Courts of additional sessions judges which are hearing the cases related to the riots have often chastised Delhi Police over its handling of the investigation into the violence.

Almost echoing Judge Rawat, Judge Vinod Yadav had recently imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 on the Bhajanpura police station’s station house officer and his supervising officers and noted that “police have miserably failed in their statutory duties” in a case.

In April 2021, the same judge had observed that the Delhi Police’s senior officers have displayed a “complete lack of supervision” and that the practice of clubbing several FIRs into one has been used to “protect the accused” in the riots.

‘Huge crowd’

According to the police, Suresh, now acquitted, was present with a “huge crowd of rioters carrying iron rods and sticks,” and allegedly broke open the lock of a shop situated in Delhi’s Babarpur Road and looted it on the evening of February 25.

The shop belonged to one Bhagat Singh and was rented to Asif, who is the complainant in the case.

During the investigation, Singh told the police that the rioters were aggressive and wanted to loot the said shop because it belonged to a Muslim man. Singh had said that he was trying to stop the rioters.

Both Singh and Head Constable Sunil, who was the beat constable in the area, later identified Suresh as part of the rioters.

Suresh was arrested on April 7, 2020, and admitted on bail on February 25, 2021, after spending ten months in Mandoli Jail.

On March 9, 2021, the court framed charges against him under sections 143 (punishment for unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 427 (mischief), 454 (lurking house-trespass) read with section 149 (unlawful assembly) and section 395 (dacoity) of the IPC.

Suresh had pleaded not guilty and claimed trial.

Advocate Rajiv Pratap Singh represented the accused, while Saleem Ahmed was the public prosecutor in the case.

(With PTI inputs)