Monday, October 2, 2023

Delhi Riots: Court discharges three accused for having no substantial proof

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Additional Sessions Judge Virender Bhatt discharged three Delhi riots accused Surender Soni, Shiva and Nitin on Monday.

ASJ Bhatt said,

Charges cannot be framed against these accused upon taking into account the material annexed with the charge­sheet on the basis of which there is no possibility of their conviction at the final stage. It would be sheer wastage of judicial time if the charges are to be framed against the accused upon consideration of the evidence on the basis of which they have to be acquitted later on.”

The three accused were facing prosecution Section 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly) and under Sections 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide) under the Indian Penal Code and Section 27 of (punishment for using arms) of the Arms Act, 1959.

The Accused were taken to custody after the police retrieved CCTV footage of the area in question and reportedly identified Soni, who disclosed the names of the other two accused persons.

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The Court, on the other hand, pointed out that what was required at this stage, was to see whether their conviction was

reasonably possible if the material on record remained unrebutted or whether there is strong suspicion which may lead the Court to think that there is ground for presuming that the accused has committed the offence”.

The discharge stated that  whenever an unlawful assembly takes part in vandalism or arson , at least two prosecution witnesses have to support and identify the role and involvement of the persons concerned.It came on record that the magistrate court refused to take cognisance of offence punishable under the Arms Act

The Court also raised doubts over the identification of Soni, and said “nothing on record” to demonstrate that the “person with a folding stick in his hand” as seen in the CCTV footage was Soni.

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No statement of any eye-witness to this effect can be found on record. It is also to be noted here that the complainant Azim Ansari has nowhere mentioned in his statement dated 06.03.2020, on the basis of which FIR was registered, that he had identified any of the rioters in the mob in gully no 13 and that he can identify those later on also, if shown to him. It is for this reason probably that the CCTV footage was not shown to him for identification of the rioters

-the order said.

When it comes to the identification of the other two accused people, the Court held that the disclosure statement of Soni was inadmissible and that only one witness brought on record to corroborate their identities.

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