Explainer: Who Are the Policemen Heading SITs on the Delhi Riots?

Deputy commissioners of police Joy Tirkey and Rajesh Deo have been known to support pro-government groups in their investigations.

New Delhi: The Delhi Police has transferred the northeast Delhi riots probe to the crime branch, and the cases will be probed by two Special Investigation Teams (SITs), officials said on Thursday.

The police have so far filed 48 FIRs.

The SITs will be headed by deputy commissioners of police (DCP) Joy Tirkey and Rajesh Deo to look into all cases related to the riots in the capital that have claimed 39 lives thus far.

Deputy commissioner Rajesh Deo was taken off poll duty by the Election Commission for the recently concluded Delhi assembly elections after he told reporters that photographs from the phone of Kapil Gujjar, the gunman who fired shots in Shaheen Bagh on February 1, established his association with the Aam Aadmi Party. The EC wrote to the Delhi police commissioner saying that Deo had been issued a warning for making comments about an investigation with “political connotations” that had “consequences for the holding of free and fair elections”.

Deo is also supervising the investigation into violence at the Jamia Millia Islamia University and led the Crime Branch team that visited the university campus recently and issued notices to ten students asking them to appear before it for questioning in connection with the December 15 violence.

Deo is also a part of the Delhi Police crime branch which is investigating JNU student Sharjeel Imam’s role in violence on December 13 and 15 in Jamia Nagar and violence on JNU’s campus on January 5.

Also read: Police Double Standards, JNU and a Most Dubious Press Conference

DCP (Crime) Joy Tirkey, on the other hand, is a part of the Delhi Police crime branch probing the violence that occurred at JNU’s campus on the night of January 5, when masked persons, widely believed to be affiliated to the BJP’s student wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), entered and vandalised the campus and attacked students, including the JNU Students Union (JNUSU) president Aishe Ghosh, at the university.

In a hurried press conference held on January 10, Joy Tirkey named nine persons, including Aishe Ghosh, who had sustained head injuries from the attack, as suspects. Tirkey told journalists that Ghosh, had “led the mob that attacked the Periyar hostel on the evening of January 5”.

Tirkey also listed four Left outfits — SFI, AISF, AISA and DSF — and said seven of the nine suspects belonged to them, but did not mention ABVP, even though the remaining two students belonged to that organisation. Since then, the police investigation has failed to make progress in the investigation.

Deo and Tirkey will have four assistant commissioners of police-rank officers each and the probe will be supervised by Additional Commissioner of Police B.K. Singh.

“The situation in northeast Delhi is normal right now and no untoward incident has been reported today. Sufficient force has been deployed in every area and senior officers are monitoring the situation. The number of distress calls has also reduced,” Delhi Police PRO Mandeep Singh Randhawa said.

“We have received calls on the two helplines which we released on Wednesday. A total of 48 FIRs have been registered. We have evidence and are registering more FIRs. We have conducted around 350 meetings with Aman Committee in whole Delhi, specifically in northeast district,” he added.

He said raids are being carried out in different areas as part of the probe.

“There were some reports in media that said people were finding it difficult to get basic necessities. The issue has been resolved as the traffic flow has become normal,” he said.

(With inputs from PTI)