Delhi High Court cancels bail granted to school owner Faisal Farooq in riot case

Faisal Farooq

The Delhi High Court on Monday set aside order of the trial court allowing bail to Faisal Farooq, the proprietor of Rajdhani School in Northeast Delhi and accused in the Northeast Delhi Riots case.

A single-judge bench of Justice Suresh Kait cancelled the bail granted to Farooq on 20 June by Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav, by stating that the ASJ had failed to appreciate that while deciding an application for bail, the interest of the society is also to be safeguarded.

“… while deciding an application for bail, the interest of the society is also to be safeguarded. The entire country is aggrieved by the action of such offenders who tarnish the basic secular fabric of the nation and needs to be punished severely. Personal liberty of an individual though precious, is of little value if the larger interest of the people and nation are at stake,” High Court said.

Justice Kait in his order has said that the accused is clearly seen in CCTV footage behind Rajdhani School on February 24 and in front of Rajdhani School till 02:08 pm; thereafter he left the school. The judge said that he allowed his school premises to be used by rioters to attack the opposite party.

Farooq, along with other 18 people was arrested in a case of rioting and for burning down an adjacent school in the area on February 24.

The Delhi Police had filed a charge sheet against Farooq and others on June 3. However, on June 20, a court in Delhi granted him bail, saying it was prima facie not established that he was present at the spot at the time when violence broke out in the area.

Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi, said that Faisal Farooq was the kingpin and had deliberately allowed rioters to use his school to wreak havoc on surrounding areas, particularly the neighbouring DRP School.

Farooq’s counsel Senior Advocate Ramesh Gupta had argued: “Farooq’s Call Detail Records showed that he had phoned the police six times seeking aid, on account of damage caused to his school. The Chargesheet had recorded that Farooq was not present at the scene of the riots. The photographs the prosecution produced did not help their case because they showed Faisal Farooq in the vicinity of the school around 2 PM. They themselves had pegged the riots as having commenced after 3 PM. Roop’s statement was falsified, because the CCTV footage showed Manoj standing by himself, with no people grouped outside the school as he claimed.”

Hindu mob hijacked Rajdhani School: local residents

Rajdhani Public Senior Secondary School. Photo: Shaheen Abdulla/Maktoob

In Shiv Vihar in northeast Delhi, the Hindu mob used the Rajdhani Public Senior Secondary School as a base to launch attacks against peaceful anti-CAA protesters, the local residents told Maktoob on 28 February.

Terrace of Rajdhani public school, a three-story building became a convenient and strategic location to unleash violence by dropping petrol bombs, firing guns, and pelting bricks. Containers of bricks and unused petrol bombs and gun cartridges are seen on the terrace.

“They hijacked the whole school. Me, my wife and my children were trapped for more than 45 hours in a room in the other school,” Manoj, the guard at School told Maktoob on 28 February.

“An armed mob with sticks, stones, and guns camped in the school. There were more than 500 people. The police came to the site only after 48 hours ” Manoj added.

The owner and principal of the Rajdhani school, Faisal Farooq also told reporters that even after repeated calls to the police they did not turn up for help while a case has been registered immediately on the complaint of the owner of DRP Convent Public School, located adjacent to Rajdhani School.

However, according to the Delhi police the Muslim mob had camped inside and fired bullets from the terrace of Rajdhani School.

“They also threw petrol bombs, acid, bricks, stones, and other missiles using an improvised large iron catapult, specially installed for the purpose, from the terrace of Rajdhani School. The rioters had used ropes to climb down from the terrace of Rajdhani School into the compound of DRP Convent School and then the mob had set the school on fire,” police said.

Eighteen persons, including Faisal Farooq have been arrested in this case and charges under Sections 147, 148, 149, 153-A, 307, 395, 436, 455, 120B, and 34 of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 25 and 27 of the Arms Act have been invoked.

According to the police theory, it was on Farooq’s directions that the DRP convent school, two parking lots run by the other party, and the building of one Anil Sweets were systematically destroyed by the mob.