A Delhi Court, hearing North East Delhi riots cases acquitted a man of charges of rioting and burning a shop in Khajuri Khas area during the riots in North East Delhi in February 2020. The court acquitted the accused giving benefit of the doubt after noting the contradictory statement of the Investigation Officer.
While acquitting Noor Mohammad alias Noora, the additional Sessions Judge Pulastya Pramachala said, "I find that charges levelled against the accused in this case are not proved beyond reasonable doubts. Hence, the accused is acquitted of all the charges levelled against him in this case."
The FIR in the present case was registered on March 2, 2020, on the basis of a complaint filed by Mohd Habif on February 29, 2020, alleging that his tailoring shop situated on main Karawal Nagar Road was looted and set on fire by the riotous mob on February 24 in the same year.
During the investigation, accused Noor Mohammad alias Noora was identified as one of the members of the mob, which indulged in the riot covering this incident of February 20, 2020. Accordingly, he was arrested, in the present case and following the same, Delhi police had filed a charge sheet under sections related to rioting, unlawful assembly, arson, robbery etc.
"This is a matter of record that in his complaint Mohd. Hanif did not name the accused as one of the rioters nor did he say that he had seen and could identify any of the rioters," the judge observed.
The Court noted that as per the testimony of the Investigation Officer (IO) constable Sangram had told him about the involvement of the accused in the riot for the first time on April 2, 2020. "Though the investigation of this case was entrusted to him on March 11, 2020, and he also knew that Ct. Sangram was beat constable of the concerned area, but IO did not examine him prior to April 2, 2020," the bench further said.
The court also noted that in his cross-examination at one point of time, IO deposed that in this case prior to April 2, 2020, no one had told him except Hanif that he could identify accused involved in this case.
"At the same time, IO again said that he had made inquiries from best constable Sangram before April 2, 2020, also and he had told him that he could identify the person responsible for vandalism in the shop Hanif. Still, IO did not record his statement, nor did he mention this fact in the case diary," the Court noted.
"Thus, I find that IO contradicted his own statement regarding getting information prior to April 2, 2020, of the relevant witness constable Sangram, who could identify the culprits," the judge said.
"Surprisingly, he did not record such information either in the form of a statement under Section 161 Cr.P.C. or in the case diary, if he had at all received such information from Sangram or from Mohd. Hanif. This shows that the identification of the accused on April 2, 2020, was probably the outcome of an afterthought development, the judge observed.
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