Sixteen years after the infamous Sadar Bazaar riots claimed eight lives, a court has acquitted four persons, charged with rioting in the area, for want of evidence.
"The prosecution has failed to prove its case against the accused and hence, they are acquitted of the offence," Additional Sessions Judge Rajneesh Kumar Gupta said after noticing that the complainant's testimony did not support the prosecution's story.
The judge noted that the case of the prosecution was not consistent with the complaint lodged by one Kamrey Amal wherein he alleged that the accused had on November 14, 1990, burnt his motorcycle and had looted cash and other articles from his house at Sadar Bazaar.
"Accused persons are not named in the complaint as to the incident of burning of motorcycle. The prosecution has failed to explain as to why not the accused are named in the incident despite the fact that the complainant knew them," the court observed in a recent order.
Refusing to buy the prosecution argument regarding theft in Alam's house, it said that in the absence of any mention of the accused in the complaint or other material evidence, the prosecution had failed to prove their complicity.
The court accepted the defence contention that the complainant's testimony did not find corroboration by the prosecution and exonerated Lehri, Madan Lal, Kamaljit and Sandeep Kumar under various provisions of the IPC pertaining to rioting and theft.
A court here, in September last year, had sentenced 16 persons to life imprisonment in Sadar Bazaar riots case in which eight people were killed when a procession was being carried out by Muslim Sikh Dalit Front on November 14, 1990.
The riots took place when provocative speeches were delivered by some religious leaders against one religion during the procession, which was headed by Hamid Sagar and Master Nooruddin.
In this case, the prosecution had alleged that the accused persons had burnt the motorcycle of the complainant. They then entered his house and threatened him to deliver all the cash and expensive articles lying there.
The complainant and his family were saved by a neighbour who took them to his house but when he returned three days later, cash and articles were found missing, it had alleged.
The prosecution led three witnesses to prove its case against the four accused but as the prime witness did not depose on the line of the prosecution story, the court absolved them of the charges.