NEW DELHI: A court on Thursday framed charges of murder and arson against five accused for allegedly setting a man on fire inside the Ramlila Ground during last year’s riots, to which they have pleaded not guilty and claimed trial.
Five men shot Mohd Anwar and set him on fire inside Ramlila Ground as he was from a “different community”, according to the police. Additional Sessions Judge said that prima facie there is enough material on record to frame charges against the accused, namely Lakhpat Rajora, Yogesh, Lalit, and two men under the requisite sections of the IPC.
Following this, the charges were explained to the accused persons in vernacular and asked if they plead guilty or claim trial, to which they all pleaded not guilty and claimed trial in the case. The judge noted that the Call Data Record (CDR) locations of all the accused have been found at the spot on the date of the incident, which is prima facie out of their routine locations.
ASJ Yadav also concurred with the prosecution’s contentions that the accused were not visible in the CCTV footage as the rioters had broken virtually every camera in the vicinity and damaged the DVRs during the violence.
The judge noted that even though there was a delay in recording the statement of public witnesses, he cannot lose sight of the fact that police were facing difficulty to trace them as people were shocked and traumatized and it took them time to muster the courage to report. “Statements cannot be brushed aside merely because there has been some delay in recording thereof or that the complainant did not specifically name/identify the accused persons in his initial written complaint made to the police,” the judge said.