A court here on Friday acquitted two people of the charges of rioting, arson and dacoity in a case of the 2020 northeast Delhi communal riots.
The court was hearing the case registered on the complaint of Saleem Khan accusing the two of being part of a riotous mob that committed robbery and set ablaze his two shops–a salon and automobile spare parts store–in Sadatpur village on February 24, 2020.
“I find that charges levelled against both the accused persons are not proved beyond reasonable doubt. Hence, accused Mahender and Dharmender are acquitted of all the charges levelled against them in this case,” Additional Sessions Judge Pulastya Pramachala said.
The court said the identification of the accused persons in the present case was “doubtful".
Pointing out the inconsistencies in the evidence, the court said the complainant had contradicted the investigating officer’s (IOs) claim of having identified both the accused.
Also, despite reference being made by an on-duty constable, no video of the incident was proved on record, the court said.
The court noted that prosecution witness Zakir Malik, who also identified both accused before the court, claimed he was thrashed by them.
“But, this claim appears to be an exaggerated version because had it been so, then prosecution witness 9 (Malik) must have mentioned the factum of his beating and the factum of identifying some persons from this mob by their name,” the court said.
It said Malik had recorded his statement before the police without mentioning the names of the accused persons and also did not say anything about having witnessed the incident at the complainant’s shops.
Malik made a phone call to the police several hours after the incident without referring to the accused, the court said, adding, it cannot be assumed failed to mention the “basic allegations” because of panic.
“In these circumstances, I find that evidence of prosecution witness 9 is not reliable enough to presume the presence of both the accused persons in the mob…,” the court said.
The Khajuri Khas police station had registered an FIR against the two accused under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code, including rioting, robbery, dacoity and mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house, etc.