New Delhi: Statements on oath of Tahir Hussain’s neighbour, a scrap dealer and traders who helped him arrange cash worth Rs 1.12 crore in lieu of cheque payment form the basis of the conspiracy charges in Delhi Police’s charge sheet against suspended Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) councillor.
The 17,000-page charge sheet was filed earlier this week before a local court in connection with the February riots that broke out in northeast Delhi and killed 53 people.
The charge sheet, filed by the Delhi Police Special Cell, names 15 persons, including Hussain, as key conspirators.
The statements are in the annexures that the police have attached to the charge sheet as evidence in support of their assertion that the riots were part of large-scale conspiracy hatched to cause unrest and disaffection against a democratically-elected government at the Centre.
Scrap dealer says arranged 50 litre acid
In his statement, the scrap dealer said he arranged 50 litre acid and 100 empty glass bottles for Hussain at least 10 days prior to the riots.
The dealer said Hussain came to his shop and asked for acid and bottles claiming that he wanted them for cleaning work in the house, particularly on the terrace.
The scrap dealer also said Hussain visited him because he stored acid retrieved from second-hand batteries that the former traded in.
The dealer’s statement further says that while Hussain visited him in the morning, a car from the suspended councillor’s office came to the shop in the evening which had two cans. The dealer said he filled those cans with around 50 litre acid and kept 100 glass bottles.
He also said that he got anxious upon reaching Hussain’s house as he saw acid bottles in the compound. The dealer claimed he left the former councillor’s house immediately after receiving his payment. After the riots broke out, the dealer told the police he noticed the bottles were those that were bought by Hussain.
The statement was recorded under section 164 of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPc) on 10 September before metropolitan magistrate Deepakshi Rana, seven months after the riots took place.
A statement under section 164 CrPc is admissible as evidence before the court during trial. A witness can face perjury charges in case of a retraction. However, such a statement is open to challenge during cross-examination of a witness.
The traders too have affirmed on oath that they aided Hussain to arrange cash, but denied having knowledge of the alleged conspiracy and claimed they were unaware why the councillor needed so much of cash. ThePrint has access to these statements.
‘Hussain victim of circumstances’
Besides Hussain, Natasha Narwal, Devangana Kalita, Asif Iqbal Tanha, Ishrat Jahan, Meeran Haider, Safoora Zargar and Khalif Saifi have also been named as accused.
Hussain’s lawyer, senior advocate K.K. Manan, rubbished the charges against the former AAP councillor, questioning the credibility of the witnesses and police’s statement.
“Hussain is a victim of circumstances. It is on record that the police gave him protection as a mob tried to burn his house. Also, the police have planted interested and stalk witnesses, whose statements were recorded belatedly,” he told ThePrint.
Hussain is also facing charges for his involvement in the murder of Intelligence Bureau (IB) officer Ankit Sharma.
IB officer, who was murdered, visited Hussain’s house
According to the statement of Hussain’s neighbour, another witness in the case, there was a flurry of activities at the councillor’s house four to five days before the riots broke out. His statement was recorded on 24 June, four months after the violence.
The witness also claims to have seen Hussain purchase glass bottles two to three days before the riots from the scrap dealer when the former was out to get petrol filled in his vehicle. He said he also found out through people working in Hussain’s factory that the glass bottles filled with acid lying in the building’s compound belonged to the councillor.
The witness further said he saw the acid dealer going to Hussain’s house and noticed the councillor’s drivers offloading petrol tanks from his car.
He recollected the sequence of events for 23, 24 and 25 February and claimed Hussain incited his men to damage shops in the locality, and pelt stones and acid bottles.
According to the witness, IB officer Sharma visited Hussain’s house with his team members to hold talks, but former AAP councillor’s men caught hold of him and started beating him up at the local leader’s behest.
The men, who accompanied Sharma, reportedly left the spot, leaving the officer behind. The group of men who nabbed Sharma dragged him to Hussain’s house, following which the witness left.
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