A court on Thursday rejected bail petitions of three accused in a Delhi riots case, saying that eye witness accounts cannot be thrown into the dustbin, reported PTI. The accused have alleged that the witnesses were “planted”.

The case pertains to the alleged killing of a civilian, Monish, in the Dayalpur area during the violence that broke out in February last year in the northeast part of the national Capital. The court said two independent public witnesses have identified all the three accused to be part of the riotous mob. It noted that if the accused were released on bail, they could threaten the witnesses who live in the same locality.

“The statements of eyewitnesses cannot be thrown into dustbin at this stage merely on the bleak allegations of the counsels [for the accused] that they are planted witnesses,” Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav said in its order, refusing bail to Aman Kashyap, Pradeep Rai and Ashish. The counsel for the accused have claimed they have been falsely implicated in the case.

The court also pointed out that the accused have also not been able to explain why the call detail record of Kashyap and Rai showed that they were present at the scene at the time of the incident.

“Though, no CCTV footage of the incident in question thereby capturing the image of applicant(s) [Kashyap, Rai and Ashish] is available on record, but the eyewitnesses’ account cannot be brushed aside at this stage, as their statements duly corroborates the recovery of sword and wooden stick from the houses of Kashyap and Ashish, respectively,” the court said.

It said that more than 10,000 calls were made to the police in Dayalpur area on the date of the incident following which the police traced some of the witnesses. “Therefore, at this stage, in the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case in hand, it cannot be said that there is delay in recording of statements of witnesses by investigating agency,” the court observed.

Clashes had broken out between the supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act and those opposing it between February 23 and February 26 in North East Delhi, claiming 53 lives and injuring hundreds. The police were accused of either inaction or complicity in some instances of violence, mostly in Muslim neighbourhoods.