A Delhi court has imposed a fine on the police for the ”undue harassment” of the accused in a February 2020 riots case, noting that repeated directions to the police commissioner and other senior officers seeking their personal intervention in these matters had fallen on deaf ears.
Chief metropolitan magistrate Arun Kumar Garg directed the police to pay a fine of Rs 25,000 for the delay in moving an application for segregation of complaints and conducting further investigation in the case to all the seven accused in equal proportion.
”Repeated directions have already been issued by this court not only to DCP (NE), joint commissioner of police (eastern range) and commissioner of police, Delhi seeking their personal intervention in the matters pertaining to the North East riots, however, it appears that all the aforesaid directions have fallen on deaf ears,” the judge stated.
In an order dated October 12, Garg had also directed Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana to furnish a detailed report regarding steps taken by him to ensure proper investigation of the cases pertaining to North East riots and their expeditious trial.
Furthermore, the judge directed the secretary (home), Union of India to order an inquiry to fix the responsibility for imposition of the cost and deduction of the same from the salary of the erring officer.
The cost was imposed after the police made a request for adjournment in the case on grounds that further investigation in the case was being carried out in the wake of an order passed by a sessions court on September 10.
In September, the additional sessions judge had questioned why five riot incidents which took place at three different blocks of Delhi's Bhajanpura area on different dates were clubbed in a single FIR and had directed that the complaint of one Akil Ahmad be separated.
During the proceedings before the magistrate court, even though the special public prosecutor stated that the complaint of Ahmad was segregated, there was ”no whisper” regarding the segregation of his complaint in a status report filed by the investigating officer (IO), the judge noted.
When the IO was directed to produce the case diary to show the investigation carried out by him after the September order, it was submitted by him that no such case diary has been written in the present case after the sessions court's order.
”In view of inconsistency in the submissions made on behalf of IO as well as SPP regarding segregation of investigation qua the complaint..., it is apparent that the prosecution is still not sure as to how it should go about further investigation in the case and the only purpose for seeking permission for further investigation is to derail the further proceedings,” the court observed.
He added, ”The request of IO for segregation of the complaint and for further investigation in the case is allowed, however, considering the delay in moving the application leading to undue harassment of the accused persons, two of whom are still running in JC, the said request is allowed subject to adjournment cost of Rs 25,000 -- to be paid by the State.”
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.