Delhi Police are yet to probe more than half the cases filed in the February 2020 communal riots, according to a status report filed in the Delhi High Court. The Delhi Police has told the high court that it has completed the investigation and filed chargesheets in 361 cases (47.6% as on October 4) of the cases registered pertaining to the February 2020 Delhi riots. Of these, trials in 67 cases (18%) have commenced, the affidavit said.
The police added that the high court quashed four cases, charges dismissed against two, and accused in one case have been acquitted. The legal process in cases pertaining to those cases are at an advanced stage, the police told the Delhi High Court as it summed up the issue.
The Delhi Police had registered a total of 758 cases in the aftermath of the communal clashes that struck the national capital in February 2020. Of these, 695 cases were being probed by the police, 62 cases—pertaining to major incidents like murders—are being probed by the three dedicated Special Investigation Team (SIT) under the aegis of the Crime Branch, whereas the special cell is looking at the larger conspiracy in the planning and execution of the riots.
The Delhi Police affidavit came on a plea filed by Ajay Gautam who has sought a National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe in the communal riots which was resulted in the death of 58 and injured hundreds.
On Thursday, the court directed the Delhi Police file an updated status report, posting the matter for further hearing on January 28, 2022.
Cases being investigated promptly, diligently: Delhi Police
The police submitted that the cases pertaining to the Delhi Riots were being probed promptly, diligently, fairly, and in accordance with the law. The police added that the present batch of pleas, which were "motivated", made "bald, fanciful and uncorroborated assertions and allegations" against its probe.
The police submissions are important in light of Delhi court observations which pointed out that the standard of the probe in the Delhi riots case was "poor", "most casual callous and farcical in manner".
After framing charges in the particular case, additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav, who was adjudicating the case before his transfer, had pointed out that it was "really painful to note" that charges for consideration have been pending in a large number of Delhi riots' cases because the "IOs (Investigating Officers) have not been appearing in court, either physically or through video-conferencing, at the time of consideration on charge".