New Delhi: A Delhi court has said the February 24 anti-CAA riots in North East Delhi, involving the murder of a head constable of the city police, was an outcome of a well-hatched conspiracy among rioters.
Delhi Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Purushottam Pathak made this observation while taking cognisance of the charge sheet filed by the city police against 17 accused involved in the murder of Head Constable Ratan Lal during the riots in Chand Bagh area of North East Delhi.
“From the statements of witnesses and the charge sheet, it was prima facie revealed that the riots dated February 24 wherein one police official was murdered, several police officials and public persons were injured and several properties were burnt and destroyed, was an outcome of a well-hatched conspiracy amongst the accused persons.
“They planned the manner of committing riots, murder and other offences as alleged and they were instrumental in gathering of unlawful assembly at Chand Bagh in conspiracy with each other having common intention and unlawful object,” the court said.
While taking cognisance of the charge sheet, indicting the accused persons on 17 counts of various penal offences, ranging from rioting and unlawful assembly to murder and attempt to murder, the court, however, did not take cognisance of the offence of promoting hatred between people of different religions.
The court did not take note of the offence under section 153-A due to the Delhi police’s failure to get the mandatory sanction for the prosecution of accused on charges of triggering hatred between different communities.
The court took cognisance of the charge sheet on September 1 and ordered all 17 accused to appear before it on September 10.
The 17 accused who were ordered to appear before the court are Mohd Saleem Khan, Salim Malik, Mohd Jalaluddin, Arif, Mohd Ayub, Mohd Yunus, Mohd Danish, Shahnawaz, Ibrahim, Furqan, Badrul Hasan, Mohd Sadiq, Shadab Ahmed, Imran Ansari, Adil, Nasir and Suvaleen.
While ordering production of accused before it, the court also declared two of them — Suleman Siddiqui and Ravish — proclaimed offenders for avoiding court summons and arrest warrants.
“Due to the non-appearance despite several calls and due service under section 82 of the CrPc, accused namely Suleman Siddiqui and Ravish are declared proclaimed offenders,” the court said in its order.
Giving its rationale for not taking cognizance of the offence of promotion of hatred between different groups and communities of people, the court said, I am not inclined to take cognisance of the offence under section 153-A of the IPC as for taking its cognisance, previous sanctions are mandatory to be filed by the agency but the same has not been filed till date.
“IO (investigating officer) has informed that in the present case a letter dated February 13 has been sent to the competent authority but it was not clear as to how much time it will take for obtaining sanction. Any delay in proceeding further in the matter will unnecessarily defeat the purpose for which the special courts for trial of riot cases have been created. Accordingly, I deem it fit to take cognisance of all the offences as discussed,” the judge said.
Taking note of the post mortem examination report of the slain policeman, the court said that HC Ratan Lal suffered gunshot injuries apart from 21 other wounds.