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New Delhi: Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) councillor Tahir Hussain has been acquitted by a Delhi court in a 2015 case that accused him of defacing public property by putting up a board wishing people ‘Happy New Year’.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) Arun Kumar Garg on Wednesday, April 13, ruled that there was “not even an iota of evidence” with the prosecution to prove that the said board/hoarding was installed by Hussain or by someone at his behest.
A case was registered against Hussain under Section 3 of the Delhi Prevention of Defacement of Property Act after a head constable of the local Karawal Nagar Police Station noticed a flex hanging from an electric pole with pictures of Hussain and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal printed on it, according to Bar and Bench.
The judge in his order observed that the prosecution had failed to point out how it arrived at pinning the blame against the accused.
“In fact, the IO (investigating officer) has failed to point out in the charge sheet as to how he had pinned down the name of the accused as the installer of the board, in as much as, he has neither recorded the statement of residents of the locality where the board in question was found affixed by the police nor has he recorded the statement of the printer,” the judge said in the order passed on Wednesday.
Hussain is in jail since February 2020 after having been named an accused in the northeast Delhi riots of that year. His alleged role in the communal violence has been called to question in various independent investigations.
The latest court order also noted that none of the witnesses examined by the prosecution in its evidence even deposed that the board in question was either hung on the pole by the accused or that the same was installed at his instance.
The judge then went on to say that it was only during cross-examination that some witnesses had told the court that they had inquired from others about the persons who installed the said hoarding. However, he also added that upon further questioning, the said witnesses failed to provide the details of those other persons from whom they claimed to have got the information about the persons behind the hoarding.
“Thus, in the absence of any proof as to the installation of the alleged board by or at the behest of the accused, much less, the proof beyond reasonable doubts qua the said fact, there is no question of the accused being guilty for the offence of defacement of the property within the meaning of Section 3 of DPDP Act,” the court ruled.
(With PTI inputs)