“Predetermined, mechanical and erroneous charge sheets”: Delhi Court discharges 3 in North East Delhi riot case

Suspecting the Investigating Officer of “manipulating evidence”, the court sent the matter back to the police department to bring the complaints to a legal and logical end
Image Courtesy: thehindu.com

On August 19, a Delhi court discharged three men who were accused under criminal charges in a case related to the 2020 North-East Delhi riots. The court was hearing the case of State v. Akil Ahmad & Ors where the three men were facing charges of rioting, criminal conspiracy, unlawful assembly and vandalism. While pronouncing the order of discharge, the court also pulled up the Delhi Police and expressed suspicion that the investigating officer in the case “manipulated evidence” and filed charge sheets in a “predetermined, mechanical and erroneous manner”.

In the order, the bench of Additional Sessions Judge Pulastya Pramachala stated that “It is worth to mention here that this order of discharge is being passed on account of realizing that the reported incidents were not properly and completely investigated and that the charge sheets were filed in predetermined, mechanical and erroneous manner, with subsequent actions to only cover up the initial wrong actions.” (Para 34)

As a result, the court discharged Akil Ahmad, Rahis Khan and Irshad, who were chargesheeted for offences under Sections 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting with deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly with a common object), 188 (disobedience to public order), 436 (mischief by fire), 120B (criminal conspiracy), among others of the Indian Penal Code.

It is essential to note that the matter was sent back to the police department for assessment of the investigation carried out in this case and subsequent action as per law. Delhi Police has been required to bring the complaints to a legal and logical end.

Observations of the Court on the alleged role of three accused in rioting and vandalism:

As per the allegations made by the prosecution, a mob had vandalised and set vehicles on fire around Victoria Public School in North-East Delhi. The police stated that the mob, which the accused were allegedly part of, was carrying stones, rods, sticks and blocked roads in the area. As per the order, the court found the existence of inconsistencies in the charge sheets and subsequent statements, suggesting an attempt to cover up flaws in the prosecution’s case.

In accordance to the above-mentioned, the court found contradictory statements given by the complainants in the case and pointed out that the investigating officers (IO) had ignored the fact that there were mobs sloganeering both in favour of and against the Citizenship Amendment Act/National Register of Citizens. 

This fact is very important to realise that they were two different and rival mobs. IOs remained silent over the question as to which particular incident was caused by a particular mob. If several incidents took place in and around Victoria Public School at the hands of riotous mob, the job of IO was to ascertain the composition of such mob during each of such incidents.” the order stated. (Para 32)

Continuing with this, Judge Pramachala further stated,

” If a person ceases to be member of an unlawful assembly, then he cannot be made responsible for any act done by that mob in absence of such person.” (Para 32)

Instead of suspecting the accused persons for their involvement in the alleged incidents, the court came down to the suspicion that the IO manipulated the evidence in the case, without actually investigating the reported incidents properly.

Observations of the court on cover-up by investigation officer

On February 28, 2020, a first information report (FIR 71/2020) had been registered at the Dayalpur police station on the basis of a rukka (complaint copy from which the contents are taken for filing FIRs) prepared by an Assistant Sub-Inspector. As reported by Livelaw, the Investigating Officer of the said case late clubbed several complaints made by Farooq Ahmad, Shahbaz Malik, Nadeem Farooq and Jai Shankar Sharma.

On July 14, 2020, a charge sheet was filed against the three persons, and cognisance of the same was taken on December 9, 2020. Thereafter, two supplementary charge sheets had also been filed on February 15, 2022, and February 16, 2023, along with certain documents and fresh statements.

Referring to the same, in its order, the judge noted that in the first supplementary charge sheet, the investigating officer (IO) included three individuals as accused who were not mentioned in a constable’s statement.

The court further highlighted that until the court began questioning the timeline of events mentioned in the case, the IO consistently maintained in both the main and the first supplementary charge sheets that, except for one incident, all other reported incidents by various complainants occurred during the night between February 24 and 25, 2020.

The court further noticed that when the complaints were clubbed together, there was no record of the police being informed that the same group had been involved in acts of vandalism and arson from the night before until the information was recorded on the morning of February 25, 2020.

Additionally, the court also stated that the subsequent statements from the complainants were documented primarily to hide the gaps in the prosecution’s case and to provide a basis for charging the accused individuals. The court also pointed out that the investigating officer failed to present any evidence demonstrating the accuracy of these subsequent statements.

The subsequent statements of the complainants were thus, recorded, only to cover up above mentioned lacuna in the case of prosecution and to justify charge sheeting the accused persons in this case.” (Para 31)

The complete order can be read here:



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