Delhi riots: Delhi HC grants bail to cab driver as witnesses did not mention his name

The court observed that the accused was not in the vicinity of the area where the alleged incident took place

Delhi HC

The Delhi High Court has granted bail to a person charged with murder of a public servant, for conspiring and acting with common object, in the incident in which a head constable was killed and several policemen injured. The single-judge bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait observed in its February 16 order, that the accused’s call data suggested that he was not at the location of the incident and also that the primary witnesses did not name him in their statements.

The petitioner/accused, Mohd. Danish, was booked under several sections of the Indian Penal Code as well as Arms Act and Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.  He was a cab driver on contractual basis, working night shifts in Gurgaon. He stated that on February 23 and 24, 2020, he was visiting relatives in Chandbagh and thereafter he left from there. He was arrested by police as he was on his way to pick up a customer for a ride.

Senior Advocate Salman Khurshid appeared for the petitioner and submitted that the petitioner who is educated only till class 10th was made to sign blank papers which later turned out to be disclosure statements attributed to him. Khurshid submitted that the alleged statements given to the police suffer from gross illegalities and are absolutely photo-cyclic in nature, thus inadmissible as evidence. It was also submitted that no recovery has been made from the petitioner.

Khurshid also submitted that the call data records of the petitioner of February 24 suggest that he was 200-250 meters away from the place of incident and there were no calls between him and other co-accused. It is asserted that the petitioner does not know any co-accused.

The prosecution alleged that the petitioner was carrying weapons and was actively involved in riots as identified by police witnesses. Additional Solicitor General of India SV Raju submitted that It is a case of murder of one public servant while performing his official duties, the petitioner actively participated in the riots and as a part of unlawful assembly the petitioner is responsible for the act too. A police team stationed at the protest site in Chandbagh, was brutally attacked and HC Ratanlal was shot dead while other policemen, including DCP Amit Sharma were seriously injured.

ASG SV Raju submitted that the accused persons had killed HC Ratanlal and tried to kill the police party including DCP Shahdara and ACP Gokulpuri who received serious injuries on head.

Upon perusal of the CDR, the court inferred that the petitioner was not even in the vicinity of the violence affected area. The court stated that prosecution had not established a case that the petitioner earlier knew or made calls to other accused. “Moreover, there is no CDR entry which can possibly show any call record between the people disclosing the petitioner’s name (other co-accused) and the petitioner,” observed the court.

The court also pointed out that the initial statements of the police witnesses viz., beat Const. Gyan and Const. Sunil of February 27, 2020, do not mention the petitioner’s name. Only after a span of 12 days i.e. on March 10, 2020 the petitioner’s name comes up in the supplementary statement. Further, the court observed that none of the 3 public witnesses mentioned the petitioner’s name in their respective statements. The court also noted that there was no CCTV footage or any video to implicate the petitioner.

The court granted bail to the petitioner in light of these observations, and since chargesheet has already been filed and the trial will take substantial time. The court ordered that the petitioner shall be released on bail on his furnishing a personal bond in the sum of Rs.20,000/- and with one surety in the like amount, on the condition that the petitioner shall not influence the prosecution witnesses.

The complete order may be read here.


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