Delhi Riots | Lofty case of criminal conspiracy could not be inferred; Chargesheeting on basis of insignificant material unwarranted: Court while granting bail to Umar Khalid

Delhi Court: Vinod Yadav, J., held that Umar Khalid cannot be permitted to remain behind bars in the present case on the basis of such a sketchy material against him and added that he cannot be made incarcerate in jail for infinity merely on account of the fact that other persons who were part of the riotous mob were to be identified and arrested in the matter.

Prima facie, the applicant appears to have been roped in the matter merely on the basis of his own disclosure statement and disclosure statement of co-accused Tahir Hussain.

On the statement of Constable Sangram Singh, an FIR was registered wherein he stated that he was on duty when a large crowd gathered on the road near Chand Bagh Pulia and started pelting stones.

When the constable went to save himself into a parking lot, a mob broke the shutter and thrashed all the persons present inside. Vehicles that were lying were set on fire and the complainant’s motorcycle was also burned by the rioters.

During the inspection of the building of principal accused Tahir Hussain, it was found that the said building was used by rioters/miscreants/accused persons for brick batting, stone pelting, pelting of petrol bombs and acid bombs. A lot of stones, bricks, glass bottles containing petrol with neck stuffed with clothes and other material, including catapults were found lying on the third floor and on the rooftop of the principal accused Tahir Hussain’s house.

Analysis, Law and Decision

Bench noted that it was not prosecution’s case that the applicant was physically present at the scene of crime on the date of incident.

It was also recorded that the applicant was not visible in any CCTV footage/viral videos pertaining to the incident and no identification of the applicant either through independent public witness or any police witness of he being at the scene of crime on the date of incident.

“…applicant has merely been roped in the matter on basis of his own disclosure statement, fourth disclosure statement of co-accused Tahir Hussain and disclosure statement of co-accused Khalid Saifi.”

Bench added that the argument that the applicant was in regular contact with co-accused Tahir Hussain and Khalidi Saifi over the mobile phone is hardly of any consequences, as prima facie that does not in any way go on to establish the criminal conspiracy alleged against the applicant in the matter.

Court stated that it is aware of the fact that besides the present matter, the applicant was also accused in the case of FIR No. 59 of 2020.

Reliance was placed on the decisions cited by the applicant as the said judgments duly apply to the facts of the present case.

High Court quoted the Judgment of Delhi High Court in Devangna Kalita v. State, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 1092, wherein bail was granted to Devangna Kalita in the case of murder and rioting, primarily on the ground that the material against her was the disclosure statement of co-accused Shahrukh recorded in the case of a larger conspiracy and her presence at scene of crime.

Bench expressed that the present case was at better footing than Divangna Kalita’s case as in the present case the statement of co-accused Tahir Hussain did not lead to any recovery of fact, except for the recording of disclosure statements of co-accused Khalid Saifi and applicant.

In Court’s opinion, it did not find any rationale in the act of police in involving the applicant in this solitary case for the offence of conspiracy and police has unnecessarily brought in the material of FIR No. 59 of 2020 in the present matter.

On perusal of charge sheet, it was clear that the role assigned to the applicant in the matter was categorically different and distinct from the role attributed to aforesaid co-accused persons, as:

  • Firstly, it had nowhere been the case of prosecution that applicant was physically present at the scene of crime on the date of the incident.
  • Secondly, the applicant was nowhere captured in any CCTV footage/viral video
  • Thirdly, neither any independent witness nor any police witness identified the applicant to be present at the scene of crime.

Bench failed to understand from the statements recorded as to how a lofty claim of conspiracy could be inferred.

Charge sheeting the applicant on the basis of insignificant material was unwarranted.

 Special PP failed to establish that the role assigned to the applicant was not similar to the role attributed to the c-accused Khalid Saifi.

Bench held that the applicant deserves bail on ground of parity with co-accused Khalid Saifi.

Applicant shall furnish a bond of sum Rs 20,000 with one surety in the like amount to the satisfaction of the Court and subject to the condition that he shall not tamper with the evidence or influence any witness in any manner and shall maintain peace and harmony in the locality. Aarogya Setu App to be installed in his phone.

In view of the above, application was disposed off. [State v. Umar Khalid, Bail Application No. 506 of 2021, decided on 15-04-2021]


Advocates before the Court:

Shri Manoj Chaudhary, Ld. Special PP for the State alongwith IO, Inspector Sunil Kumar.

 Shri Trideep Pais, Sr. Advocate alongwith Ms Sanya Kumar and

 Ms Rakshanda Deka, Ld. Counsel(s) for accused Umar Khalid/applicant.


Image Credits: India Today

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