Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav, who had been critical of the Delhi Police’s handling of several cases related to the communal violence in the Capital in February last year, has been transferred, PTI reported on Thursday.

Yadav, who had in July fined the Delhi Police Rs 25,000 for its “callous and farcical” investigation in a case related to February 2020 violence, has been sent to a court in the capital’s Rouse Court Avenue. He has been posted there as a special judge to hear corruption-related cases.

Judge Virender Bhatt will replace Yadav at the Karkardooma trial court, according to PTI.

The Delhi High Court’s transfer notice came on the same day when Yadav observed that one of the police witnesses in a case related to the violence was “lying on oath”. He made the the comment after a head constable and an assistant sub-inspector of Delhi Police gave contradicting statements regarding identification of the accused persons in a 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.

‘Delhi violence will be remembered for police failure’

In July, Yadav had fined the station house officer of the Bhajanpura police station and his supervising officers Rs 25,000.

He imposed the penalty while hearing a petition that said the police had not registered a first information report based on a complaint filed by a person who suffered a gunshot injury during the violence. The police had filed a revision petition claiming that an FIR had been registered in the case. However, Yadav observed that the police had clubbed two separate complaints.

“I have not been able to persuade myself about the efficacy and fairness of the investigation carried out in the matter,” Yadav had observed.

While hearing another case in September, Yadav had commented that the February 2020 violence will be “remembered for police failure”.

He had made the observation while discharging three accused persons against whom the police could present only five witnesses – including the complainant and three of their officials – even after conducting a long investigation.

“I am not able to restrain myself from observing that when history will look back at the worst communal riots since partition in Delhi, it is the failure of investigating agency to conduct proper investigation by using latest scientific methods, will surely torment the sentinels of democracy,” Yadav had said at the hearing.

In another matter in August, Yadav had noted that the investigating officer had not collected required evidence related to the case. He had said that police investigation in many cases related to the violence had been “very poor”. He had also directed the commissioner of the Delhi Police to take “remedial steps” in the matter.

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