The Delhi High Court on Tuesday pulled up the police for delay in investigation of an incident in which a 23-year-old Muslim man died after policemen beat him up and forced him to sing the national anthem during the riots that broke out in the national Capital in February 2020, reported Live Law.
The court has sought a detailed status report of the investigation.
A video shot on February 24, 2020, showed policemen beating up the man named Faizan, and four others, while ordering them to sing the national anthem and chant “Vande Mataram”. Faizan was then allegedly detained at the Jyoti Nagar police station. He died soon after he was released.
Faizan’s mother Kismatun had filed a plea before the High Court seeking an inquiry by a Special Investigation Team. Kismatun has claimed that the police had illegally detained her son and denied him critical health care due to which he succumbed to his injuries.
At Tuesday’s hearing, the Delhi Police told the court that they have interrogated a head constable in the matter.
To this, Justice Mukta Gupta remarked: “It has been two years, you have been able to just identify some person?”
The judge also asked why the police did not trace the origin of the video. Pankaj Arora, the investigating officer in the case, replied that they had found that the video had been filmed on the head constable’s phone, but during inquiry, he denied shooting it.
“But there were certain things about him due to which we are sure that he made the video,” Arora said, according to The Indian Express. “Head constable Ravinder was the only one not wearing a helmet in the video... He had also got an injury on the head during the riots.”
The investigating officer also told the court a lie detector test had been conducted on Ravinder which showed that his replies were “deceptive”. He said that a forensic expert had also submitted a report which concluded that the head constable had filmed the video.
“We have also taken his voice samples and sent them to FSL [Forensic Science Laboratory],” Arora said. “The report is awaited.”
The court said that the police department would know the identity of the personnel who were deployed on the date of the incident.
“You can zero down easily,” the judge said. “How much time will the identification take place?”
Advocate Vrinda Grover, appearing for Kismatun, told the court that the CCTV camera footage of the day of the incident had not been preserved. To this, the police replied that the court has been informed that the cameras were not working at that time due to technical reasons.
Grover had earlier argued that the police had “conveniently” been claiming that the cameras were not working at the station.
“I want all answers in my status report,” the judge said, adding that the police must submit details on when the cameras stopped functioning.
The matter will now be heard on February 22.
Communal violence had broken out between the supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act and those opposing the law in North East Delhi between February 23 and February 26, 2020. The violence claimed 53 lives and hundreds were injured. The majority of those killed were Muslims.