A court in Delhi has framed murder and rioting charges against seven men accused of killing a Muslim man during the communal violence that hit the national capital in February 2020, Bar and Bench reported on Tuesday.
Clashes had broken out between the supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act and those opposing it between February 23 and 26 in North East Delhi, killing 53 people and injuring hundreds.
A mob had attacked Monish with stones and sticks while he was walking home in Dayalpur area on February 25, The Indian Express reported.
A witness called the police and they took him to a hospital, according to Bar and Bench. Monish was declared brought dead.
Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav said that even though the accused were not seen on CCTV footage, the court had recorded the statement of the witness, The Indian Express reported.
The judge added that the call records of the accused confirmed their presence at the place where the incident took place.
“The mere assertion on behalf of accused persons that since their residences are located/situated in the vicinity of the spot and as such, the CDR [call detail records] location is of no consequences to the prosecution, it is noted that the same will not suffice as it is quite apparent from their CDR details that they have been on constant move/shuffle from one spot to another spot,” he added.
Yadav said that there was enough material on record to frame charges against the accused. Apart from murder and rioting, the accused were charged Sections 143 (unlawful assembly and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.
The counsel for the accused claimed that they had been framed in the case. They highlighted the unexplained delay in filing the first information report and also claimed that the witness in the case was planted.
Special Public Prosecutor Manoj Chaudhary justified the delay in filing the FIR, saying that the police were busy with law and order duties during the communal violence, Bar and Bench reported.
In January, the court had dismissed the bail petitions of three of the accused in the case. “The statements of eyewitnesses cannot be thrown into dustbin at this stage merely on the bleak allegations of the counsels [for the accused] that they are planted witnesses,” Yadav had said.