Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav noted that the complainants did not state a single word regarding the mob committing "mischief by fire or explosive substance" in their initial statements.
A Delhi court Wednesday dropped charges of arson against ten people accused of allegedly looting shops during the Northeast Delhi riots, saying the police tried to cover up a flaw and clubbed incidents of two different dates.
The case was registered on the basis of three complaints — one Birjpal stated that his rented shop was looted by a mob at Brijpuri road on February 25, while Diwan Singh claimed that two of his shops were looted on February 24.
Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav noted that the complainants did not state a single word regarding the mob committing “mischief by fire or explosive substance” in their initial statements.
Diwan, in his supplementary statement, had stated that the mob put his shop on fire. On this, the court said that “the investigating agency cannot cover up the flaw by recording the supplementary statements if the offence of arson was not there in initial complaints made to the police”.
The judge further said that arson charges cannot be invoked merely on the basis of statements of police witnesses who were posted as beat officers in the area on the date of the incident.
ASJ Yadav said he is unable to comprehend how an incident that took place on February 24 can be clubbed with an incident that occurred on February 25 unless and until there is clear evidence that same rioters were operating on both dates.
“In view of the aforesaid discussion, I am of the considered view that ingredients of section 436 IPC (mischief by fire or explosive substance) are not at all made out from the material produced on record by the investigating agency”, the judge said.
The court has however framed charges under sections 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with a deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly), 188 (disobedience to order by public servant), 354 (assault), 392 (robbery), 427 (mischief), 452 (house trespass), 153-A (promoting disharmony on grounds of religion), 506 (criminal intimidation).
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