Friday, December 8, 2023

Difficult to assume Muslim ‘mob’ would chant ‘Jai Shree Ram’: Court acquits three Muslims in Delhi pogrom case

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While acquitting three Muslim men in a case connected to the Northeast Delhi pogrom, a Delhi court pulled up the Delhi Police for clubbing several complaints with the case without investigation.

Additional Sessions Judge Pulastya Pramachala acquitted the three accused, Akil Ahmed, Raheesh Khan, and Irshad, in the main complaint and referred the matter related to the wrongly clubbed complaints back to the investigating agency, Live Law reported.

The court said the charges leveled against three Muslim men in respect of the incident at a shop at Chandu Nagar, Karawal Nagar Road are not proved beyond reasonable doubts.

In the case, one Danish complained that his shop, a courier service office, was looted and burnt down due to which he suffered a loss of Rs 6-7 lakh. Dayalpur Police later clubbed more complaints with Danish’s complaint on the grounds of the proximity of the place and date of the incident.

All the accused refuted the allegations and asserted their innocence, claiming that they were not present at the spot on the day of the incident. They argued that they have been falsely implicated in this case. Advocate Mehmood Pracha, who represented Akil Ahmed, accused the investigating officer of attempting to manipulate the evidence by introducing false witnesses and levying exaggerated and sensational charges against the accused for personal motives. Advocate Salim Malik represented the remaining two accused individuals.

In its ruling, the court observed that the Investigating Officer (IO) mentioned the consolidation of 27 complaints in the charge sheet for this case. However, upon examining the list of complaints included in the charge sheet, it was discovered that the names of three complainants appeared twice in the list.

“Moreover, there was discrepancy in the serial numbers in the sense that after serial no.14, there was no serial no.15, and straight away serial no.16 was given in the list. Thus, this list effectively referred to 23 additional complaints, which were shown to be taken up for investigation in this FIR itself,” Live Law quoted as the court saying. The court added that IO could not point out the 27 complaints when he was cross-examined.

The court said: “In some of the additional complaints, the complainants had mentioned that the mob at their respective places were chanting slogan of “Jai Shree Ram”. One complainant namely Shahnawaz in his complaint Ex.PW12/A had mentioned name of Bhullu and Lala being part of the mob at his place. However, IO did not say anything in the charge sheet or in his examination in chief, about such allegations made in the respective complaints and the investigation done by him on the basis of such allegations. It is very difficult to assume that it would have been a mob of persons from Muslim community, who would have been chanting slogan of “Jai Shree Ram” while indulging into riot and vandalism. I say so also because it is so projected by prosecution also that a communal riot had taken place.”

The judge further went on to say that IO was even not aware of the time when such incidents took place and that apparently that there was “no logical ground” with the police officer to club those complaints in the present FIR, Live Law reported.

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