The Delhi High Court has granted bail to an accused in a case connected to the anti- Muslim Delhi pogrom, observing that the witnesses against him seem to be planted. The accused, Irshad Ahmad, is a close aide of former Aam Aadmi Party councillor Tahir Hussain.
A bench led by Justice Suresh Kait overruled the trial court order of Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav, who had declined to release Ahmed on bail.
Justice Suresh Kumar Kait, in an order, said there is no electronic evidence such as CCTV footage or photos to implicate Ahmad in the case. The FIR was registered at Dayalpur police station on February 28. “As per the statement of Constable Pawan and Constable Ankit (both are eyewitnesses and present at the spot), they had identified the petitioner and other co-accused. However, they have not made any complaint on the date of the incident, i.e. 25.02.2020, whereas FIR was lodged on 28.02.2020. Thus, the said witnesses seem to be planted,” the order said.
The court was also told one of the eyewitnesses, Rohit has confirmed Ahmad’s role and identification, and that mobile phone location of the accused also shows his presence at the spot. However, Justice Kait noted that there was no electronic evidence such as CCTV footage or photos to “implicate” Ahmed.
However, the court said the chargesheet has already been filed in the case and the trial will take substantial time. “Without commenting on the merits of the case, this court is inclined to grant bail to the petitioner,” it said.
The HC bench, in the order dated October 7 said, “He shall be released on bail on his furnishing a personal bond in the sum of Rs 25,000 and with one surety in the like amount to the satisfaction of the trial court/duty judge.”
“The trial court shall not get influenced by the observation made by this court while passing the order,” said the bench.
Opposing the bail, police had argued that Ahmad’s name was disclosed by co-accused Hussain and that they are associates. Police had submitted that around 100 people were standing on the terrace of Hussain’s house and allegedly throwing petrol bombs on the houses of other community.
The 2020 Delhi pogrom saw multiple waves of bloodshed, property destruction, Mosque vandalisation and rioting in North East Delhi, beginning on 23 February and caused chiefly by Hindu mobs attacking Muslims. Of the 53 people killed, two-thirds were Muslims who were shot, slashed with repeated blows, or set on fire.