A court here has acquitted four men in a case of rioting, vandalism, arson and theft by a mob at Bhagirathi Vihar during the 2020 northeast Delhi riots, saying the accused were entitled to the benefit of doubt.
The court was hearing a case against Dinesh Yadav, Sahil, Sandeep and Tinku, accused of being part of a riotous mob that was involved in looting and arson in some shops on February 25, 2020.
“I find that charges levelled against the accused persons, in this case, are not proved beyond doubt. Hence, accused persons… are acquitted of all the charges levelled against them in this case,” Additional Sessions Judge Pulastya Pramachala said in an order passed earlier this week.
The judge said the formation of unlawful assembly, rioting and vandalism in two shops was “well established” but though both the shops were vandalised, they were not set ablaze.
The court said seven prosecution witnesses could not identify any rioters by appearance or name as they did not see their faces, much less the people involved in the incidents.
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It said the testimonies of two police officials were “not reliable” to establish that all the accused persons were members of the riotous mob.
“Prosecution did not prove any record of such vital information being given by these two witnesses in the police station, though ideally it should have been at least recorded in writing. Accused persons were arrested much later in time and statements of these witnesses were also recorded after a long delay.
“I find that accused persons herein are entitled to benefit of the doubt in the present case,” the court said.
Gokalpuri police station had filed a chargesheet against the accused men for several offences, including rioting, theft in dwelling house and mischief by fire or explosive substance with the intent to destroy house, under the Indian Penal Code.