Delhi HC reprimands Delhi police for “half-baked” probe into confessional statement leak in Delhi riots case; calls it “useless piece of paper

THE Delhi High Court Monday castigated the Delhi police for its “half-baked” and “useless piece of paper” vigilance inquiry into the alleged leak of a so-called confessional statement by an accused in the Delhi riots case, the Indian Express reported.

Justice Mukta Gupta went on to call the report “worse than…what they do in an ordinary theft case”.

These observations came while Justice Gupta was hearing a petition filed by Jamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha seeking a direction to  Zee News, OpIndia, YouTube and Facebook, to take down sensitive/confidential information allegedly leaked to them by the police, and issue guidelines on media reporting of ongoing criminal investigations.

Questioning the vigilance’s conclusion that the allegation of a leak was “unsubstantiated”, the court said it would have been unsubstantiated if the leak of documents had not taken place.

“The vigilance inquiry report says that the allegations were unsubstantiated. No, the allegations were substantiated. You were to find out who did it,” the judge said.

The court said that the disclosure statement was “not a document lying on the road”, else the officer concerned would be guilty of negligence.

The Delhi Police said it had shared the report only with the state government and Home Ministry.

“These are senior IAS officers. Where did you do the inquiry, who did you inquire of? Where were the files sent? Who took them to the Delhi government and MHA and who brought them back… there is nothing in the report. It is completely silent. These are not documents lying on (the) road,” the court said in a sharp retort.

The Delhi police had told the High Court in an affidavit that none of the police personnel involved in the investigation had leaked any details of the investigation.

It added that police were also aggrieved by the alleged confessional statement of the petitioner being made public as that had also hampered the investigation. It was stated that a vigilance inquiry in this matter had been instituted.

Earlier, the High Court asked Zee News to file an affidavit clearly disclosing the source from where the alleged confessional statement of the petitioner was received, before the next date of hearing.

Tanha alleged that officials of the Delhi police had with the mala fide intention of prejudicing the petitioner in pending proceedings, leaked the said statement(s) to the media.

Tanha is being represented by advocate Siddhart Agarwal who concluded his arguments yesterday. The matter is listed for further hearing on March 5

Earlier, the High Court in a plea filed by Pinjra Tod member Devangana Kalita, an accused in Delhi riots cases, directed the Delhi Police not to issue any further communication naming any accused or any witness till the charges, if any, were framed and the trial had commenced in the North East Delhi riots case.

The court had said the cases concerning communal riots were undoubtedly sensitive.

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