Two ordinary men were implicated by the police and branded as criminals till help came from an unexpected quarter
~By Lilly Paul
In a shocking case, two innocent men in Delhi were picked up by the police, charged with crimes they hadn’t committed and sent to jail. Thanks to a chief metropolitan magistrate of a district court who believed in their innocence, they were finally let off.
The misfortunes of Mursalin Malik, 44, and his friend Asif Malik, 35, started on November 7, 2016, when they were sitting with friends in their computer scrap shop in Old Seelampur. Suddenly, five police officials—ASI Pawan Malik and his team of Manoj, Satyaveer, Sunil and Rambir from Krishna Nagar police station—came there and took them into custody and filed two FIRs against them.
ASI Malik was the complainant in the first FIR, which was lodged by the Krishna Nagar police. Mursalin and Asif were booked under Sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act. And contrary to facts, the FIR said they were caught as they were going on a motorbike. Another FIR was lodged with the Pandav Nagar police station under Section 379 (Punishment for theft) and 411 (dishonestly receiving stolen property). A copy of the first FIR is with India Legal.
The first FIR mentions that the police “caught” both the accused near Ganda Nala on the basis of information from their sources. It also mentions that the sources had informed that Asif and Mursalin, along with others, had committed loot in Kashna region of Uttar Pradesh a fortnight back. The police also mentioned that it had confiscated a loaded pistol, a live cartridge and other ammunition from Asif. As Mursalin could not produce papers of the motorbike, the police also booked them for keeping a stolen bike.
Asif and Mursalin had nothing to prove their innocence except footage of a CCTV camera installed near their shop—something which the police did not anticipate. The CCTV recording clearly shows five men in civilian dress coming and interrogating them and taking them away.
Distressed over this turn of events, Mursalin’s brother, Mehraj Malik, e-mailed a letter to the police commissioner the same day. He mentioned that 5-6 people had arrested his brother without any just reason and said the “police officials” might be some anti-social elements. The police then presented Mursalin and Asif before Karkardooma District Court, from where they were sent to Tihar jail. Their lawyer, Tarun Aggarwal applied for bail, but it was rejected as they were charged for a criminal offence. However, the lawyer succeeded in persuading Naresh Kumar Laka, the chief metropolitan magistrate (CMM) of the Court, to watch the CCTV footage. He also got the CCTV footage checked by a forensic lab and submitted the report.
Luckily for the men, the CMM watched the video and after checking its authenticity, granted them bail. He also cast serious doubts about the veracity of the police version and ordered the investigating officer to bring out the truth. Laka’s report said: “In the light of the aforesaid circumstances and finding serious doubts in the case of the police agency, both applicants/accused persons are admitted to bail on furnishing personal and surety bond in sum of Rs.10,000/- each.”
It is believed that Mursalin and Asif had a personal rivalry with some other people and that the police sided with them. Nevertheless, one wonders why the police implicated these two by lodging a false FIR.
Tarun Aggarwal told India Legal: “These police officials are punishable for keeping illegal weapons and a stolen bike. This is a case of misuse of office. It is clear that the police has taken money from someone to trap them.”
Mursalin had now written to the police commissioner and the National Human Rights Commission, seeking action against the guilty officials and a fair investigation into the matter. They filed a complaint with the Public Grievance Commission of the government of Delhi and it was forwarded to the additional commissioner of police (vigilance) on May 12, 2017, for action within three weeks.
The two aggrieved men have got no response from any of the police departments so far, making one wonder whether the police slogan, “With You, For You, Always”, is just hype.