A Delhi Court, on Wednesday granted bail to United Against Hate member Khalid Saifi in the February 2020 North East Delhi communal violence case. Justice Vinod Yadav directed him to furnish a bail bond of Rs.20,000/- and instal Aarogya Setu App in his mobile phone.
Special Public Prosecutor Mr. Manoj Chaudhary represented the State and Senior Advocate Rebecca John, Bhavook Chauhan, Rajat Kumar, Harsh Bora, Pravita Kashyap, Tushar Yadav and Syed Atif appeared for applicant Khalid in State v Khalid Saifi (Bail Application No. 1460 of 2020).
Additional Sessions Judge Yadav remarked, “In my humble opinion, chargesheeting the applicant in this case on the basis of such an insignificant material is total non-application of mind by the police which goes to the extent of vindictiveness.” This remark was based on the oral evidence relied on by the Delhi Police to claim Saifi’s involvement in a larger conspiracy of the riots in February.
The witness had told the Delhi Police that he had seen Saifi drop Tahir Hussain (principal accused) outside a building on February 27 and thereafter had seen Saifi and Umar Khalid going into the building. On the basis of this statement, the ASJ said, “I fail to understand from the aforesaid statement how a lofty claim of conspiracy can be inferred.”
“The statement of PW (principal witness) is yet to be tested on the touchstone of evidence”, he added.
The court noted that Tahir Hussain was accused in 10 different cases, so if he was moved or actuated by the applicant Saifi in any manner in a meeting dated January 8, 2020, then he should have been made a co-accused with Tahir in the ten other cases also which is not the case. “I do not find any rationale in the act of police in involving the applicant in this solitary case for the offence of conspiracy”, ASJ asserted.
The court also observed that Khalid Saifi was neither present at the scene of crime on the day of the clash, nor was there any video evidence to support this claim. Further, no independent witness or any police witness has identified the applicant to be present at the scene of crime. The court noted, “Prima facie, the applicant appears to have been roped in the matter merely on the basis of his own disclosure statement and disclosure statement of co-accused Tahir Hussain.”
Charges against Khalid Saifi
He was initially arrested on February 26 in case FIR No.44/2020, Police Station Jagatpuri. Thereafter, he was formally arrested on March 21 in case FIR No.59/2020 (investigated by Special Cell) and thereafter on June 6 he was formally arrested in this present case.
The said FIR was for offences relating to unlawful assembly, rioting, destruction of public and private properties at Khajuri Khas, inciting communal violence, conspiracy, mischief by fire or explosive substances, dacoity, possession of arms under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code, Arms Act and Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.
While recognising that the investigation is complete and the chargesheet has been filed, the court noted that the applicant cannot be incarcerated in jail “for infinity merely on account of the fact that other persons who were part of the riotous mob have to be identified and arrested in the matter.”
Finding no substance and material in the prosecution’s case, the court allowed the bail application.
The order may be read here: