A Delhi court questioned the investigation in the 2020 North East Delhi riots after a complainant named Sajid was named as an accused in an attempt-to-murder case, Live Law reported on Monday.
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.
Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat, in an order passed on August 18, said that the investigation in the attempt-to-murder case focussed on showing six men being part of the mob that assaulted Sajid, The Indian Express reported. The six men were cleared of the charges.
Sajid claimed that on February 25, 2020, while trying to escape a riotous crowd – comprising the six men – he was hit by a gunshot. During the investigation, Sajid was examined and since he had suffered an injury, it was reasoned that he was part of the riotous mob.
“The investigation begs question as to how the prosecution, on one hand, has charged six accused persons under section 307 IPC, which is an attempt to murder, for the attempted murder of injured Sajid who has also been made as an accused in this case for the offence of rioting,” the court said.
In March 2020, a constable said that all six persons were part of the riotous mob. While five of them were arrested on the principle of unlawful assembly, another accused person was later held after being identified by the constable.
The court noted that Sajid is a primary witness and an accused in the attempt-to-murder case against the six men, Live Law reported. Therefore, the court said that without proving the gunshot injury, the attempt-to-murder charge cannot be proved.
“How will Sajid appear as a witness in a case in which he himself is an accused?” it asked.
The court added, “These aspects of the investigation are incongruous in as much as if Sajid is stated to be an accused in this matter, he can’t be made a witness as then he would be as a witness who will give the testimony on behalf of the prosecution and also the accused who does a cross-examination of himself.”