Delhi Riots Case: Court Pulls Up Police, Calls Probe Casual, Callous

The court's observation came on a Delhi Police plea against a court order directing it to register an FIR on a complaint filed by a riot victim

A Delhi court on July 13 observed that the Delhi Police investigation in a matter pertaining to February 2020 North-East communal riots in the national capital was done in the "most casual, callous and farcical manner".

The court's observation came on a Delhi Police plea against a court order directing it to register an FIR on a complaint filed by a riot victim who lost an eye during the violence.

On March 19, 2020, the victim Mohammed Nasir had filed a complaint with the police claiming that on February 24 in 2020, he suffered a gunshot injury in his left eye. Nasir had named Naresh Tyagi, Subhash Tyagi, Uttam Tyagi, Sushil, Naresh Gaur, and others in the case. Nasir had then moved court when the police failed to file a case on his complaint.

Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav said it was clearly evident that the police sought to create a defense for the accused persons named in the victim's March 2020 complaint. Even those persons who could "presumably" have an issue with the court's October order did not challenge the same, the court said.

The judge dismissed the appeal and imposed costs amounting to Rs 25,000 on the concerned police official and his supervising officers "who have miserably failed in their statutory duties in this case after holding a due inquiry in this regard."

Case documents reveal a very shocking state-of-affairs

A perusal of the case diary in this matter reveals a "very shocking state of affairs", the judge noted. A case diary is a diary the police officers are mandated to maintain while investigating a case detailing how an inquiry is being carried out.

After perusing the case diaries, the court observed that the case diary was not maintained as outlined in the rules. The court pointed out that according to the diary on March 17 2020, the police recorded how it arrested Salman and Sameer Saifi based on an informant's tip for the destruction of Hindus' life and property. The court acknowledged that though not a single victim's name was recorded, it was an admitted fact that the said area/locality is dominated by Hindus.

The court then said the case diary of June 16, 2020, which was recorded "on a different leaf altogether" mentioned that "no eyewitness could be found/traced in the matter despite the MLC (medico-legal case) of the respondent (Nasir) clearly showing his address".

The case diaries have not been maintained in accordance with the law which requires it to be in a bound volume and duly paginated, the court ruled. The court reiterated that FIRs on two separate complaints disclosing cognizable offences filed by two different complainants could not be clubbed. The court's ruling came after the police argued that a separate FIR was not required since an FIR was already filed in regard to the same incident.

The police had further submitted that no evidence could be found against the accused persons. In fact, the police said Naresh and Uttam were not even present in Delhi at the relevant time, while Sushil was in his office.

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