Police creating defence for accused; Delhi riots case investigation done in casual, callous and farcical manner: Court

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Dismissing Delhi Police’s revision petition against an order directing it to register an FIR on a Ghonda resident’s complaint, which alleged that he was shot in the eye during Northeast Delhi riots, a Delhi Court has said that police have sought to create a defence of the accused in a different FIR, and that officers have “miserably failed” in their statutory duties in the case.

Imposing a cost of Rs 25,000 on Bhajanpura police station’s SHO and his supervising officers, Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav has sent the order to the Commissioner of Police “for bringing to his notice” the level of investigation and supervision in the matter, and also asked him to take remedial action. The facts and circumstances of the case reveal “a very shocking state-of-affairs,” said the judge.

In October 2020, a Metropolitan Magistrate (MM) had ordered Delhi Police to register an FIR on Mohammad Nasir’s complaint within 24 hours. On March 19 last year, Nasir in his complaint to the police said that on February 24, he was fired upon near his residence, due to which suffered a gunshot injury in his left eye. Nasir named several people in the case and said he was shot “since he belonged to a different community”, as per the complaint.

Since no FIR was registered, he had moved the court. MM Richa Manchanda last year said that the facts of the case disclose commission of cognizable offence and ordered registration of an FIR. On October 29, 2020, the order was stayed by ASJ Yadav and remained so during pendency of the revision plea filed by Delhi Police.

The police in response had submitted that an FIR already stood registered with regard to the incident of rioting in which it was mentioned that Nasir and six more persons had suffered gunshot injuries on the said date. It, however, also had told the court no evidence was found against the persons named by Nasir, and that two of them were not even present in Delhi at the time.

However, advocate Mehmood Pracha, Nasir’s counsel, argued before the sessions court that the FIR registered by Delhi Police does not address his grievance and a separate FIR was required to be registered in view of the law laid down by the Supreme Court.

ASJ Yadav in the order passed on Tuesday said that the incident with Nasir happened on the evening of February 24 last year at North Ghonda but the FIR registered by the Delhi Police on February 25 was in respect of Mohanpur, Maujpur. The court also said that information about seven persons having received gunshot injuries was known to the investigating agency but yet Section 307 of IPC and Section 25 of Arms Act were not invoked.

While perusing the case diaries, the court said the police on March 17 recorded the arrest of two persons, Salman and Sameer Saifi, on the basis of secret information that they had caused damage to the life and property of Hindus. “However, name of not a single Hindu victim/injured has been mentioned therein. Be that as it may, it is an admitted fact that the said area/locality is dominated by Hindus,” said the court.

The court also said that the case diary of June 16, 2020 mentions that “no eyewitness could be found traced in the matter despite the MLC of respondent (Nasir) clearly showing his address.”

The court also said that when two separate complaints disclosing cognizable offences are filed by two different complainants, there is no provision under which they can be clubbed.

The court also said that Delhi High Court Rules have not been followed by police in the matter and investigation in the registered FIR has been done in a “most casual, callous and faricial manner”.

“The mandate of the Constitution Bench in case of ‘Lalita Kumari’ has clearly been overlooked in this case and it is clearly evident that defence for the accused persons named in the complaint of respondent has been sought to be created by the police. Even no investigation has apparently been conducted against the named accused,” ASJ Yadav said further in the order.

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