A court in Delhi has acquitted six people accused of rioting, arson and looting on two properties during the 2020 northeast Delhi riots.
Additional Sessions Judge Pulastya Pramachala passed the order while hearing a case against Sahil, Dinesh, Tinku, Sandeep, Vikas Kashyap and Sonu, who were accused of being a part of a riotous mob that committed trespass and thefts in a shop in Bhagirathi Vihar during the riots on the intervening night of 24th and 25th February 2020.
They were also accused of being members of an unlawful assembly that committed arson, trespass and theft in a nearby house around 9 pm on February 24.
“I find that charges levelled against the accused persons, in this case, are not proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Hence, all the accused persons are acquitted of all the charges levelled against them in this case,” the court said on Thursday.
It noted that a constable and an assistant sub-inspector were the two prosecution witnesses who claimed to have seen the incidents.
“If I compare the testimony of both these witnesses, I find a huge gap of timing of the incidents in their statements,” the judge said.
He said in such circumstances, it is difficult to rely upon their claim of having seen both the aforesaid incidents and it remained “a matter of circumstantial evidence only” to say that both the incidents probed in this case were actually caused by a mob.
“Keeping in view such evidence, it can be presumed that both these incidents would have been caused by a riotous mob,” the judge said.
Regarding the identification of the accused as part of the mob, the court said the accused were merely shown as part of the mob at some point of time on that road.
This evidence was not sufficient as police registered separate cases on the basis of specific incidents of riots, it said.
“It was the duty of the prosecution to show that all the accused persons were part of the mob, which indulged in vandalism, arson and loot at the two specific properties of this case,” the court said.
It added that one of the complainants deposed that he was informed about the time of the incident by his neighbour. But such a neighbour was not traced or examined.
“In such circumstances, I find that prosecution has failed to prove beyond reasonable doubts that accused persons herein were part of the mob, which was responsible behind both the incidents probed in this case,” the judge said.
The Gokalpuri police station had registered an FIR against the six accused under various IPC provisions, including rioting, on the basis of two complaints.