A Delhi court on Tuesday said that one of the police witnesses in a case related to communal violence in the national Capital last year, was lying on oath, PTI reported.

Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav made the observation after a head constable and an assistant sub-inspector of Delhi Police gave contradicting statements on the case.

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 Wednesday, the court was examining two complaints filed by citizens from Delhi’s Bhagrathi Vihar area, alleging that a mob had robbed and vandalised their properties on February 26 last year. Four people were accused of arson, theft and rioting in the case.

During hearing in the matter, a head constable had told the judge that he had identified three of the four rioters as Vikas Kashyap, Golu Kashyap and Rinku Subziwala. The constable claimed that he knew the three men as he had been deployed in the area since 2019.

However, another prosecution witness, an assistant sub-inspector, stated that the three accused could not be identified during the investigation.

Meanwhile, the investigating officer on the case said that there was nothing on record to prove that three accused were investigated at all, PTI reported.

After hearing the statements, Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav observed: “Prima facie, one of the police witnesses is lying on oath punishable under section 193 [punishment for false evidence] of IPC [Indian Penal Code]...This is a very sorry state of affairs.”

The judge directed the Delhi deputy commissioner of police (north east) to examine the case. The court will hear the accused persons’ statements on October 30.

In recent months, several Delhi courts have rebuked the police for their handling of cases related to the February 2020 violence.

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.