Delhi riots: Court frames rioting, arson charges against four men for burning shop

The prosecution relied upon five witnesses who claimed that they saw 100-150 rioters armed with rods and sticks.

Published: 10th November 2021 06:59 PM  |   Last Updated: 10th November 2021 06:59 PM   |  A+A-

Delhi Riots

Scenes during riots in Northeast Delhi. (File photo| Parveen Negi, EPS)


NEW DELHI: A Delhi court has framed charges of rioting and arson against four people for allegedly burning a car accessories shop during the riots last year, saying their contention that police witnesses are "interested" witnesses is without a legal basis.

Suraj, Yogender Singh, Ajay, and Gaurav Panchal are accused of allegedly being part of an armed riotous mob that vandalised and burned a shop of complainant Javed Khan in Delhi's Shahdara area on the afternoon of February 25, 2020, as per the police.

The prosecution relied upon five witnesses who claimed that they saw 100-150 rioters armed with rods and sticks.

They covered their faces and burnt the shop named "Khan Accessories", witnesses had claimed.

Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Amitabh Rawat framed charges under requisite sections against the four accused and explained it to them in vernacular in the presence of their lawyers, to which they pleaded not guilty and claimed trial in the case.

The judge noted that a video footage showed Suraj and Yogender near the place of the incident and public witness Aslam specifically identified Ajay and Gaurav as part of the riotous mob.

"I am of the view that prosecution has met its case for the purpose of charge. This is a case of criminal mischief and destruction by fire of the car accessories shop," the judge stated in an order dated November 9.

ASJ Rawat further emphasized that the contention of the accused that the statements of the witnesses cannot be believed as they were recorded after a delay cannot be a basis for their discharge as it was a matter of trial.

"Moreover, the submissions that the police witnesses are not independent witnesses but interested for a ground of disregarding their statement, is without a legal basis," he said.

Rejecting another argument put forth by the accused that it was a fit case for discharge as they were not named in the FIR, the judge said that the FIR is not an encyclopedia but the beginning point of investigation and not naming accused in FIR does not discredit the case of the prosecution at all.

The ASJ said that there are grounds for presuming that Suraj, Yogender, Ajay and Gaurav committed offences under sections 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees) of IPC.

Charges have also been framed under sections 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance), 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), read with Section 149 (member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object).

Communal clashes had broken out in northeast Delhi in February 2020, after violence between the Citizenship (Amendment) Act supporters and its protesters spiralled out of control leaving at least 53 people dead and over 700 injured.


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