Police harassment of Delhi riot victim ‘real’, not ‘illusory’, says Delhi court

A Delhi court Monday observed that allegations of harassment of a Delhi riots victim at the hands of local station house officer (SHO) seemed ‘real’, not ‘illusory’ even as it directed the Investigative Officer (IO) to investigate in an unbiased manner the victim’s complaint, and not harass him and witnesses unnecessarily.

The complainant, Mohammad Salam, had approached the Court alleging that in the last 18 months, he had been called to the police station on at least 50 occasions in connection with the investigation of his complaint regarding vandalism of his house during the riots. He alleged that a sub-Inspector had sought to pressurize him to settle the matter by taking compensation from the accused.

“Since the complainant is not agreeable to this settlement he is being harassed by repeated calls”, the application before the court stated.

Salam’s lawyer M.R. Shamshad informed the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) that the IO had been serving notice on Salam repeatedly for information that he had already supplied to the police but for which no acknowledgment had been provided to him.

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

The complainant was forced to seek shelter after the alleged incident of rioting at his residence. However, he said, the SHO was now forcing him to disclose the details of his new landlord, leading him to fear that he may be thrown out of his current place of stay should the police make repeated visits there.

Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Arun Kumar Garg said he was unable to comprehend the purpose of recording the statement of the landlord when he was not a witness of the alleged incident.

“Under the aforesaid circumstances, apprehension of the complainant regarding the alleged harassment by the IO and SHO Khajuri Khas in the name of further investigation, prima facie, seems to be real and not illusory,” CJM Garg 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

The judge also expressed displeasure at the investigation being carried out by the police.

“A bare perusal of the draft charge­sheet as well as case diary shows that investigation carried out in the present case is far from satisfactory in as much as no steps seems to have been taken by the IO for collection of CDRs [call detail record] of some of the accused whereas the CDRs of the others have reportedly been collected by him. No plausible explanation has been given by the IO as well as the SHO for non-collection of CDRs of all the accused”, the Court said.

It called for a comprehensive status report of investigation from the Joint Commissioner of Police, Eastern Range.

Click here to read the order