Investigation agency’s failure will “torment the sentinels of democracy “ says Delhi court; slams police for “callous” investigation into Delhi riots

A Delhi Court Thursday came down heavily on the Delhi police for its “callous” investigation into the Delhi riots case even as it discharged Shah Alam,  Rashid Saifi and Shadab, all accused of being active members of a “riotous mob” that is said to have taken part in vandalizing, looting and setting fire to a shop during the North-East violence in February 2020.

Additional Sessions Judge(ASJ) Vinod Yadav said when history looks back at the worst communal riots since partition in Delhi, it is the failure of investigating agency to conduct proper investigation by using latest scientific methods, that will “surely torment the sentinels of democracy”.

The court pointed out that there was no evidence regarding a criminal conspiracy on the part of the accused persons. Their Call Detail Records (CDRs) had been obtained by the police in another case(s) and there was nothing to show there that they were either in touch with each other or the other accused persons, who were said to be there as part of a larger conspiracy. There was no material to even remotely show that they had participated in a criminal conspiracy. There was no witness to this effect, the court said.

“The sort of investigation conducted in the instant case and the lack of supervision thereof by the superior officers clearly depicts that the investigating agency has merely tried to pull the wool over the court’s eyes and nothing else”, Judge Yadav said.

Also Read: State machinery at odds: What Delhi courts have said about the Delhi Police’s investigation of the Delhi riots of February 2020

He pointed out that after investigating the matter for so long, the police had shown up with only five witnesses in the matter: the victim, Constable Gyan Singh, one Duty Officer, a formal witness and the Investigation Officer(IO)

“I cannot restrain myself from observing that this case is a colossal wastage of the hard-earned money of tax-payers, without there being real intent of investigating the matter”, the judge said.

The court said for the police the case was solved merely by filing the chargesheet without any real effort being made to trace out the eyewitnesses, real accused persons and technical evidence.

Flagging the loopholes in the investigation, it said the accused persons had neither been specifically named in the FIR nor had any specific role been assigned to them in the matter.

“No recovery of any sort had been effected from any of the three accused persons.  There is no independent eye witness account of the incident available on record. There is no CCTV footage/video clip of the incident(s) in question available on record to confirm the presence of accused persons at the spot/SOC at the relevant time. Even there is no CDR location of the accused persons available on record,” the court said.

“This does not appeal to senses that nobody watched such a large crowd of rioters when they were on a spree of vandalism, looting and arson.”

Also Read: Delhi court calls out police for being ‘callous’, ‘lackadaisical’ for not disclosing FIR in Delhi riots case

The judge said he was pained to note that no real, effective investigation had been conducted and merely by recording the statement of Constable Gyan Singh that too at a belated stage, especially when the accused persons were already under arrest, the investigating agency had just tried to show the case as “solved”.

The evidence brought on record by the investigating agency in the case in hand miserably falls short for framing charges against the accused persons, he said.

The Leaflet