2020 Delhi Riots: Court Discharges Man Accused of Providing Gun That Shahrukh Pathan Pointed at Policeman

A court here on Monday discharged a man accused of selling a pistol to Shahrukh Pathan who had absconded after allegedly pointing the weapon at a policeman during the northeast Delhi riots in 2020.

The court said the case against the accused, Babu Wasim, is “essentially based on surmises and conjectures rather than actual material or evidence” and the “disclosure” statement of Pathan was not admissible under law.

Pathan had allegedly aimed a pistol at Delhi Police Head Constable Deepak Dahiya with the intention to kill him on February 24, 2020, according to the police.

After the photographs of this incident went viral on social media, Pathan absconded and was nabbed from a bus stand in Shamli district in Uttar Pradesh on March 3, 2020.

Pathan disclosed that he had purchased a pistol and 20 rounds from Babu Wasim by paying Rs 35,000 in December 2019, the prosecution had said.

“The case against accused Babu Wasim is essentially based on surmises and conjectures rather than actual material or evidence and there is no ground to presume that the accused committed an offence under Section 25 Arms Act. He is accordingly discharged for the said offence,” Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat said on Monday.

The court noted that the prosecution’s case against Wasim was that he provided a pistol and the rounds to Pathan on December 6, 2019, and the weapon was then used for firing and also for the attempt on the life of head constable Deepak Dahiya by accused Pathan on February 24, 2020.

Thus, for possessing the weapons and transferring or selling them to Pathan, Section 25 of the Arms Act was invoked against Wasim, the court noted.

The court said the first incriminating material was the disclosure statements of both accused Pathan and Wasim, but disclosure statements, by themselves, were not admissible in law.

Also, there were no witnesses on record to show that accused Babu Wasim provided the said pistol to accused Shahrukh Pathan on December 6, 2019, at the Brahampuri area of Shahdara here or that he possessed the said firearm before December 6, the court said.

“The contention that accused Shahrukh Pathan made four successive calls to accused Babu Wasim on December 6 at night with location chart of mobile phones of both accused persons showing that they were at the same place, at best, shows that they were at the same spot at the same time or met with each other,” the court said.

The prosecution, instead, had to prove that Wasim possessed the said pistol before December 6 and delivered the weapon to Pathan on a particular day at a particular time, and the pistol was then used in riots.

There was no material to substantiate this allegation and even the sanction order under the relevant section of the Arms Act from the deputy commissioner of police concerned was without proper appreciation of material on record or evidence collected by the investigating officer, the court said.

The court, however, charged Wasim under Section 174 A (non-appearance in response to a proclamation) of the Indian Penal Code as he had absconded and was declared a proclaimed offender.

“As far as Section 174 A of the IPC is concerned, it is a standalone offence and all the necessary legal requirements for proceedings were completed and no infirmity has been found or even shown in the order dated July 18, 2020… declaring the accused Babu Wasim a proclaimed offender,” the court said.

The Jafrabad police station had filed a charge sheet against Wasim under the relevant sections of the IPC and the Arms Act.

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