A Delhi court on Tuesday pulled up the police for “harassing” a victim of the February 2020 communal violence by repeatedly seeking documents from him in the name of further investigation, The Hindu reported.
The court also directed the police to conduct an unbiased investigation into cases related to the violence.
At least 53 people had died and hundreds were injured in clashes that had broken out between supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act and those opposing it between February 23 and February 26, 2020, in North East Delhi. The majority of the victims were Muslim.
On Tuesday, a magistrate’s court in Delhi was hearing a plea seeking directions to the investigating officer of a case to provide the complainant of an acknowledgement receipt for the documents submitted by him.
The petitioner, Mohammad Salman, had filed a complaint in Delhi’s Khajuri Khas police station after a mob attacked his home in the West Karawal Nagar area during the violence last year.
In his plea before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Arun Kumar Garg, Salman submitted that the station house officer had recorded his statement on two occasions without providing him an acknowledgement for the same.
Salman added that he was being forced to disclose the details of the landlord of his new home where he shifted after the mob attack.
At Tuesday’s hearing, the court also took note of Salman’s complaint that he had been called to the police station on at least 50 occasions in the last 18 months, The Indian Express reported.
“...The court is unable to comprehend the purpose of recording the said statement, when the aforesaid landlord is not a witness of the alleged incident,” the magistrate said. “Apprehension of complainant regarding the alleged harassment by the IO [investigating officer] and SHO [station house officer] Khajuri Khas in the name of further investigation, prima facie seems to be real and not illusory.”
The court directed the Delhi joint commissioner of police (eastern range) to file a status report of the investigation within two weeks. It asked the investigating officer to find the real culprit and not harass the complainant unnecessarily.
Further, the court questioned the Delhi Police over its silence over the status of the investigation in Salman’s case. It directed the investigating officer to produce the case diary comprising the draft charge sheet.
The judge said that the investigation in this case has been “far from satisfactory” in terms of collection of investigation material.
In recent months, several Delhi courts have rebuked the police for their handling of cases related to the February 2020 violence.
In a separate case related to the violence, a Delhi court on Monday had warned a police officer of action against him for lack of preparation during hearing.
Last month, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Arun Kumar Garg had asked Delhi Police commissioner to conduct an inquiry and deduct Rs 5,000 from the salary of an officer who failed to appear before him and sought an adjournment in a case.
On September 17, Garg had pulled up police for their “lackadaisical approach” in handling cases related to the communal violence.
On September 3, Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav said the police had failed to conduct a fair investigation in riots cases and to ensure that the victims get justice.
In at least three cases, courts have pointed to irregularities in the manner in which first information reports were filed.