Judge Vinod Yadav critical of police probe in Delhi pogrom cases transferred

Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav, who was presiding over several cases related to the north-east Delhi pogrom at the Karkardooma court and has been critical of Delhi police probe into the cases, was on Wednesday transferred to the Rouse Avenue court where he will serve as a Special Judge for cases pertaining to the Prevention of Corruption Act.

While hearing the NE Delhi pogrom cases, ASJ Vinod Yadav had passed several scathing orders and pointed out loopholes in city police investigations.

During one such hearing last month, Yadav had observed that “failure to conduct a proper investigation will torment sentinels of democracy.”

“When history will look 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, will surely torment the sentinels of democracy,” while discharging three accused including Former AAP Councillor Tahir Hussain’s brother Shah Alam, Rashid Saifi and Shadab in FIR 93/2020, ASJ Yadav had observed.

A day before his transfer, ASJ Yadav came down heavily on Delhi police saying “Police witnesses are lying on oath” and giving contradictory statements.

“This is a very sorry state of affairs,” while during the hearing of another northeast Delhi pogrom case in connection with a Hindu mob being mobilised using loudspeakers to target Muslims, ASJ Yadav had said and sought a report from the Deputy Commissioner of Police (northeast) in this regard.

He has been disapproving the investigation conducted by the Delhi Police in some of the pogrom cases and has pulled them up at times for a “callous and farcical” probe and even imposed a fine.

While dropping arson charges against 10 Muslims who were arrested for “damaging shops” during pogrom, ASJ Yadav noted that the police was “attempting to cover” a flaw in its investigation.

He also observed that “after filing half-baked chargesheets in court, the police hardly bothers about taking the investigation to a logical end”.

Last month, holding that the charge cannot be invoked “merely on the statement” of a police witness, ASJ Yadav has discharged a 22-year-old student Javed from the charge of using an “explosive substance to destroy house” in a case connected to Delhi pogrom.

“This Court is conscious of the fact that cases of communal riots have to be considered with utmost sensitivity, but that does not mean that the common sense should be given go­-by; mind has to be applied even at this stage with regard to the material available on record,” Judge Yadav had said.

Yadav in August this year had also called for immediate remedial action and asked the DCP of North East District and other senior officials to take notice of the situation. He said: “It is further painful to note that in a large number of cases of riots, the standard of investigation is very poor. After filing of chargesheet in the Court, neither the IO nor the SHO nor the aforesaid supervising officers bother to see as to what other material is required to be collected from the appropriate authority in the matters and what steps are required to be taken to take the investigation to a logical end.”

Along with Yadav, the Delhi High Court issued an order transferring/posting 10 Judicial Officers who has been dealing with Delhi pogrom matter in the Karkardooma Court.

A public notice issued by the Delhi High Court listing the names of the judges who have been transferred said: “Hon’ble the Chief Justice and Hon’ble Judges of this Court have been pleased to make the following postings/transfers in the Delhi Higher Judicial Service with immediate effect.”