Hearing a case regarding the 2020 Delhi riots, a court here acquitted seven accused of all charges on Monday, saying the prosecution failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they were part of a riotous mob that was allegedly involved in arson, vandalism and theft at the complainant’s shop.
Additional Sessions Judge Pulastya Pramachala was hearing a case against the seven men, who were accused of being part of a riotous mob that torched the complainant’s shop at Bhagirathi Vihar here on the intervening night of February 24-25, 2020.
Taking note of the evidence before the court, the judge said it is “well-established” that the shop of Salman Malik (the complainant) was vandalised and set ablaze by rioters.
Regarding the identification of the seven accused as part of the riotous mob, the court noted that one of the prosecution witnesses, Nisar Ahmed, had recorded videos of the mob on his mobile phone.
In the video-recording that was played before the court, Ahmed pointed out four accused, the judge said.
Taking note of the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) report on the video-recording, the court, however, said it was not examined to detect any kind of manipulation or tampering.
It said, “This video, for want of examination on the parameters of test of tampering, cannot be looked into as a piece of evidence.”
Underlining another contradiction in the prosecution’s case, the judge said, “I find that there is a big mishap in the case of prosecution and the evidence brought on the record in respect of the time of the incident, and the benefit of such contradictions in the story of the prosecution has to go in favour of the accused persons.”
Also, the video of the incident of arson and vandalism at Malik’s shop was not placed before the court, he pointed out.
“In these circumstances, it is not safe to rely upon the ocular evidence of prosecution witness 6 (Ahmed) to assume the involvement of the accused persons in the incident at the shop. Accordingly, I find that the prosecution has failed to prove the presence of the accused persons in the mob beyond a reasonable doubt,” the judge said.
“All the accused persons are acquitted of all the charges alleged against them in this case,” he added.
The Gokalpuri police station had registered an FIR under various Indian Penal Code (IPC) provisions, including rioting, arson and theft, against Babu, Dinesh Yadav, Tinku, Sandeep, Golu Kashyap, Vikas Kashyap and Ashok.