The Delhi High Court has issued an order to transfer 4 Additional Sessions Judges (ASJ) including ASJ Vinod Yadav of Karkardooma North East Delhi District court who had dealt with numerous cases related to the Delhi violence in the past year. Incidentally, many of his orders since March 2021 had pin -pointed the callous attitude of Delhi Police and the many shortcomings of the investigations they were carrying out in the Delhi violence cases.
He has been transferred to special CBI court to deal with cases under Prevention of Corruption Act and the Judge who is currently holding that position, Virender Bhatt is being transferred as ASJ at Karkardooma court.
There were several orders passed by ASJ Yadav which pointed out the callous and lackadaisical attitude of Delhi Police. He is also the one who had granted bail to Umar Khalid in FIR 101/2020 related to the charge of conspiracy and others. He had noted that the material against Khalid was “sketchy” and that he cannot be incarcerated indefinitely on the basis of such evidence.
The list of cases where Vinod Yadav reprimanded and pulled up Delhi Police with relation to the Delhi violence cases:
On September 28, the ASJ reprimanded Delhi Police for “sorry state affairs” in that it has not begun investigation in a riots case in which it is alleged that certain accused gave a call to violence over loudspeakers, to attack people from the other community.
On September 22, ASJ Yadav hauled up the Police and dropped arson charges against 10 people who were alleged to have damaged shops during the communal violence. He pulled up the Police for not registering the FIR on time despite the fact that the complaint of the alleged incident had reached the authorities on time. “No explanation in this regard has been provided by the investigating agency in the entire chargesheet,” said ASJ Yadav.
On September 2, ASJ Yadav discharged three accused- Shah Alam (26), Rashid Saifi (23), Shadab (26) from the case FIR number 93 of 2020, on the basis of two complaints alleging that a shop was burnt, attacked and looted during the violence. “The sort of investigation conducted in the instant case and the lack of supervision thereof by the superior officers clearly depicts that the investigating agency has merely tried to pull the wool over the Court’s eyes and nothing else,” he had said. The court observed that the case appeared to have been solved merely by filing this charge sheet “without any real effort being made to trace out eye witnesses, real accused persons and technical evidence”. ASJ Yadav also reportedly said, “When history will look back at the worst communal riots since partition in Delhi, it is the failure of the investigating agency to conduct a proper investigation by using the latest scientific methods, which will surely torment the sentinels of democracy.”
In the case State vs Rohit, Sessions Case No. 202 of 2021, the district court went on to frame charges against accused Rohit on the basis of a complaint made by one Anwar Ali regarding vandalising, looting and burning his house down by a mob. The court observed that there was enough ocular evidence in the form of supplementary statements of complainant and public witnesses in order to frame charges against the accused, with no help from the Police.
“Their statements cannot be brushed aside/discarded at this stage, merely because there has been some delay in recording of their statements or the complainant(s) have not specifically named them in their initial written complaints….It is worth noting that investigation in the matter appears to be highly callous, inefficient and unproductive; however, as noted earlier this Court at this stage, cannot ignore the statements of victims dehors the delay in recording of FIR in the matter,” ASJ Vinod Yadav had noted then.
On April 26, ASJ Yadav dismissed a petition filed by Delhi Police seeking revision of Magistrate court order directing filing of two separate FIRs. ASJ Yadav held that the Magistrate court was well reasoned and did not warrant the court’s interference and instead it was the police machinery that was found to be “on the wrong side of the law”. The police had clubbed a complaint relating two incidents of 2 days with an FIR which pertained to an incident of just one day, citing principle of sameness.
The court said it had come to its notice that in Delhi violence cases there was complete lack of supervision of the investigation(s) by the senior police officers of the District, and implied that the police should get their act together so that victims get justice.
At the outset, the court stated that it had observed in many cases related to the Delhi violence, that several complaints pertaining to a particular area have been clubbed with a single FIR, whereby even as many as 25 complaints have been clubbed with a single FIR having different dates of incidents, different complainants, different witnesses and different set of accused persons.
On April 7, ASJ Yadav stayed the proceedings of a case where the police had clubbed a complaint about alleged arson and looting of a man’s house during the riots with another complaint which was against the complainant; thus arresting him in the same matter making him both a complainant and an accused. During the previous hearing on March 25, the court had questioned Delhi Police about the improper maintenance of the investigation file in the case of the burning and defacing of Madina Masjid.
On March 23, ASJ Yadav had granted bail to one Amit Goswami accused of vandalising, looting and setting on fire a shop in Bhajanpura main market area by allegedly being a part of a riotous mob. While the bail was granted on grounds of parity, the court had questioned the credibility of the police witnesses while observing that no PCR call was made by them on the date of witnessing the incident, “Being police officials, what stopped them from reporting the matter then and there in the PS or to bring the same in the knowledge of higher police officers,” he questioned.