2020 Delhi Riots: Court Directs DCP to Take ‘Immediate Remedial Action’ Regarding Incriminating but Unverified Video

Hearing a case related to the 2020 northeast Delhi riots, a court here has directed the deputy commissioner of police (DCP) concerned to “take immediate remedial action” regarding an unverified, incriminating video against an accused.

Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat was hearing the matter fixed for orders on the point of charge against four people — Rahul Kumar, Suraj, Yogender Singh and Naresh — who have been accused of being a part of a riotous mob that committed arson in a place of worship and some shops on its ground floor on February 25, 2020.

The judge took note of the fact that there was a public witness who had identified Kumar, while there was CCTV footage regarding Suraj and Yogender. Besides, there was a video against Naresh, who has been accused of committing arson and raising a flag atop the place of worship.

“However, when the video was sent to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL), the report was received stating that the DVD was found inaccessible in the video analyst’s system and hence, no examination was carried out. The FSL report was filed by way of a supplementary chargesheet,” the judge said in an order passed last week.

The judge said there was no other witness to identify accused Naresh and it was “inexplicable” how the incriminating video, after being sent to the CFSL, was found inaccessible.

“If it was so, the investigating officer (IO) or the station house officer (SHO) or the assistant commissioner of police (ACP) should have again sent the correct and accessible video to the FSL for their opinion and filed the same but instead, the IO has filed the supplementary chargesheet, along with the FSL report of the inaccessible video,” the judge said.

Noting that the court has to frame charges on the basis of the evidence available, he said it is “difficult” for the court to frame charges against Naresh based on an “unverified DVD”.

“But yet at the same time, if the video exists and it is verified by the FSL, it can inculpate the accused and thus, discharging him at this stage without the FSL report will hurt the conscience of this court, particularly, given the nature of the case of burning of a religious place. Moreover, the origin of the video is not disclosed,” the judge said.

“In these circumstances, this court is of the opinion that the DCP concerned should take immediate remedial action,” he added.

The matter has been posted to June 7 for further proceedings.

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