A court here has put four persons on trial for various offences, including rioting and mischief by fire or explosive substance to destroy the building, in a case related to the 2020 northeast Delhi riots.
The case relates to a rioting incident inside a parking lot on February 25, 2020.
Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat ordered the framing of charges against Shahrukh, Ashwani, Ashu, and Juber, saying that “there were grounds to presume that they had committed the offences”.
The judge, meanwhile, discharged Kasim and Khalid Ansari, saying there was “no material evidence” against them “except their disclosure statements.” “Thus, on the basis of the contents of the charge sheet, duly supported by the statement of the witnesses, it has come on record that on February 25, 2020, around 4.30 pm, a riotous mob consisting of 100-250 rioting persons, including Shahrukh, Ashwani, Ashu, and Juber, armed with dandas, petrol bottles, and canes, had entered into the MCD parking near Ambedkar College and committed mischief and destruction by fire of the vehicles and rehris inside…,” the court said in an order passed on August 18.
The court said that the four accused attracted multiple sections of the IPC, including Section 147 (punishment for rioting), Section 148 (rioting, armed with a deadly weapon), Section 427 (mischief causing damage), Section 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy building) read with Section 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of the offence).
As the accused had assembled despite prohibitory orders, they also committed the offence under Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the IPC, the court said.
At the time of framing of charges, only a prima facie case has to be seen and whether the case is beyond a reasonable doubt is not to be seen at this stage, the court said.
The court further said, “Thus, on the basis of material on record, there are grounds for presuming that the accused persons have committed offences…” Regarding those discharged in the case, the court said that they were identified on the basis of CCTV footage, and as per the footage, the duo were near the place of the incident and were seen proceedings towards the spot.
But as per the FSL report, the CCTV footage pertained to an incident on February 24, 2020, while the present case was regarding the incident of February 25, the court said.
The court said that the reliance on the CCTV footage of the previous day and the way it was presented in the charge sheet “is highly objectionable and is deprecated.” “There is no murmur in the charge sheet that it does not pertain to the day of the incident” and has been presented “as if it were regarding the time and date of the incident in the present case,” the court said. Hence, there is no material on record, whatsoever, against the accused except their disclosure statements, the court said.
The present case was filed by the Jyoti Nagar police station based on a complaint by the owner of an East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) parking lot.