Delhi riots: Court grants bail to man for ‘humongous delay’ in witness statement



NEW DELHI: A Court here has granted bail to an accused in two cases pertaining to north-east Delhi riots in February last year, noting that the police recorded the statement of public witnesses and recovered the weapon after a “humongous delay” with no plausible explanation.

Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav granted bail to 30-year-old Deepak Kumar on furnishing a personal bond of Rs 20,000 and one surety of the like amount on conditions that he shall maintain peace and harmony in the locality and not indulge in any kind of criminal act.

“Admittedly, the applicant is not seen or visible in any CCTV footage,” the sessions judge noted while granting the bail, adding that the complainants did not specifically identify Kumar in their initial complaints made to the investigating agency and named him only in their supplementary statements.

The judge noted, “Even the statements of other public witnesses namely Jai Ram and Abdul Nadir have been recorded in the matter after the lapse of considerable period of the date of incidents and no plausible or cogent explanation in this regard has come from the side of prosecution for this humongous delay.”

The court also alluded to a Supreme Court case last year, wherein it was categorically held that if statements of witnesses are delayed by substantial time, particularly when the witnesses were available with the police, then it casts a doubt upon the prosecution story and the accused becomes entitled for bail.

The judge also observed that the recovery of ‘danda’ [large stick] was done after a lapse of considerable period of time and from an open space.

The accused cannot be made to incarcerate in jail for infinity merely on account that other persons, who were part of the riotous mob, have to be identified and arrested in the matter as charge sheets have already been filed and trial is likely to take long time.

“Keeping in view the aforesaid facts, I am of the considered opinion that applicant deserves bail in both the aforesaid matters,” the judge remarked.

Kumar had been named in two FIRs.

The first FIR was registered on March 2, 2020 on the complaint of one Nishara, who claimed that on February 25, a riotous mob armed with lathis, sarias vandalized and burned her rented house and looted some gold jewellery.

Later on, two more complainants Qamar Jahan and Naushad also approached the police with similar complaints and their complaints were clubbed with the same case.

Another FIR was registered on March 2, 2020 on the complaint of one Akil Ahmed, wherein he stated that on February 25, a riotous mob consisting of about 25-30 persons, having bricks, stones, iron rods and sticks beat up and dragged him and his family members outside the house and set the same on fire.

During the course of proceedings, Kumar’s counsel Advocate M P Sinha told the court that there was an ‘unexplained delay’ of about six days in registration of FIRs in matters, which casts a doubt.

It was further argued that only a ‘fictitious danda’ has allegedly been recovered after about nine months of the alleged incident from an open place of Yamuna Khadar.

Requesting the court not to grant bail to Kumar, Special Public Prosecutor Saleem Ahmed, however, said that he was an accused in six cases of riots and could threaten the hapless victims or eye witnesses if enlarged on bail.

Communal violence had broken out in north-east Delhi in February last year after clashes between the supporters of Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the protesters spiralled out of control leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured.

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