Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana has called the February violence that happened in the Capital a “conspiracy” and said that a review of cases filed in connection with the riots is important, reported The Print.
“As the head of this force, I am duty-bound to review the cases and strengthen the investigations,” Asthana told The Print in an interview.
Clashes had broken out between the supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act and those opposing it between February 23 and February 26, 2020, in North East Delhi, resulting in the death of 53 people and hundreds sustaining injuries. The majority of the victims were Muslims.
The Delhi Police have been accused of either inaction or complicity in some instances of violence, mostly in Muslim neighbourhoods.
In recent months, the district courts in Delhi have pulled up the police for their ineffective handling of cases related to the 2020 violence. In at least three cases, courts have pointed to irregularities in the manner in which FIRs were filed.
On some occasions, the police filed multiple cases in the same police station for the same incident. In other cases, it clubbed multiple complaints in a single FIR, as reported by Scroll.in.
During his interview, Asthana told The Print that the police will take a fresh look at some cases and plug the loopholes. “It is always better to see things from a fresh angle to make value additions,” he added.
The police chief said he has created a team under a special commissioner to review some of the cases. The team will comprise deputy commissioners, assistant commissioners and inspector-level officers.
“Officers who were posted there during the riots and were later transferred are also part of the team for a fixed period of three months,” he told The Print.
Asthana said the police were examining 311 of nearly 690 cases lodged with the northeast Delhi district police for conducting further investigations, adding that supplementary chargesheets would be filed accordingly.
He said that the police will also “closely monitor” the 382 cases that are under investigation to ensure watertight chargesheets. Separate teams will be formed to arrest those who are absconding in the riots cases.
Asthana said that he was also focusing on improving the quality of investigation in the police force. For this, he said that each police station will have a dedicated investigation team.
“A good investigation and a watertight chargesheet is what finally stands in the court of law,” Asthana told The Print. “A case will reach its logical conclusion only if it is well investigated and that is what we will try to strengthen.”
He said that there will be two inspectors under the station house officer at each police station. While one will be in charge of investigations, the other will take care of law and order duties.
The police chief pointed out that since there was no dedicated teams for investigation, it has hampered the quality of the inquiries. “Now when a person goes to a police station, to make a complaint, or follow up on some case, a member from the investigation team will always be there to hear them out,” he told the news website.
‘Will use Act on organised crime more effectively’
Asthana said the police will use the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act more effectively against crime syndicates in the Capital. The Act enables state governments to take special measures, including surveillance, to tackle organised crime.
The comment came after two attackers dressed as lawyers shot dead a gangster identified as Jitendra Gogi in the Rohini Court Complex on September 24. The shooters were killed by members of the Counter Intelligence team accompanying Gogi.
The police chief told The Print that the police will crackdown on the crime syndicates and book them under the Act.
Asthana also said that the police have updated their list of gangs and wanted gangsters in their records and a dedicated team was looking into all the past cases. He said the areas where these gangs function were being put on surveillance.