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Delhi HC allows bail to 3 accused in NE Delhi riots, says no evidence against them

Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju referred to a judgment of another bail application in which the bail has been denied to the person, who is also an accused in the riots at the same site.

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The Delhi High Court has granted bail to three people accused in the North-east Delhi riots that shook the capital in February 2020 during the anti-CAA protests stating that it can be seen that there is no evidence whatsoever, either direct or circumstantial or forensic, against the petitioners.

A single-judge bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait noted, “…it is hard to believe that a communal riot can be used by the petitioners to cause death of the person of their own community.”

The petition has been filed by the three accused in the North-east Delhi riots during the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, namely Chand Mohd, Irshad and Junaid, on the ground that the petitioners are innocent and after putting them into custody, police thought up a story to falsely implicate them.

The petitioner’s counsel submitted that to prove the involvement of petitioner, the prosecution has relied upon a video of an NDTV prime time show. He said, “The prosecution themselves have admitted that it fails to establish the identity of any of the accused. Because, when they try to enlarge the picture, the photos break and the stills could not be obtained as provided on page No.38 of the charge-sheet. But when the said video was run during the course of argument, it was seen clearly that all the faces were visible and can be identified easily. None of the persons present was identified as Junaid (including Chand Mohd and Irshad). The reason is simple, because he was not present at the scene of crime.”

Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju referred to a judgment of another bail application in which the bail has been denied to the person, who is also an accused in the riots at the same site.

Raju further submitted, “After analysis of video footage obtained from NDTV, it was established that deceased Shahid sustained the gunshot injury at the roof top of Saptarishi building. Petitioner was also present there as a member of unruly mob.”

Whereas, the petitioner submitted, “In the same video relied upon by police, at exact after running of video for 10 minutes, it is seen that Ravish Kumar, NDTV primetime anchor, saying that a person is firing rifle from Mohan Nursing Home Hospital and is wearing helmet, there is another person who is covering the weapon with handkerchief and later on, they can be seen in the videos as well. But the investigating agency seems to have concentrated only on one side of the building, although it is an admitted case of prosecution that rioters from both the sides were pelting stones at each other and were firing. Further, in this video, the firing is seen to be done only from Mohan Nursing Home and not from Saptarishi building.”

However, the bench noted, “it can be seen that there is no evidence whatsoever, either direct or circumstantial or forensic against the petitioners. Neither there was any motive whatsoever either for them or for any other person allegedly present on the roof of Saptarishi building, to commit the offence, nor has the prosecution alleged any motive in the entire case. Thus, it is hard to believe that a communal riot can be used by the petitioners to cause death of the person of their own community.”

Over the judgment referred by the respondents, the bench observed, “This Court is conscious about the bail denied by Co-ordinate Bench of this Court to co-accused Raiees Khan…I have no hesitation to say that the facts brought in the present petitions were not brought to the notice of the Court while deciding the bail application of co-accused named above.”

Whereas, the bench allowed the petitioners to be released on bail on their furnishing a personal bond in the sum of Rs 25,000 each along with one surety each directing the petitioners to not influence the witnesses and tamper with the evidence.

Read the order here: 

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