'Half-baked charges, poor probes in riots cases, accused left languishing'

Half-baked charges, poor probes in  riots cases, accused left languishing

New Delhi: Describing the Delhi Police investigation in most Delhi riots case as "very poor" and the chargesheet filed in the matters as "half-baked", where the police "hardly bothers about taking the investigation to a logical end", a Delhi court has pulled up the Delhi Police while refusing to frame charges as filed by the police against two men accused of attacking police personnel last February.

The court of Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav found that prima facie there was not enough material on record to frame charges against the accused persons under the requisite sections. The court thereafter stated that charges under appropriate sections will be framed against the accused persons on the next date of hearing.

The two accused men, one Ashraf Ali and Parvez, were booked under IPC sections pertaining to rioting, acid attack and assault on a public servant, among others. The FIR in the matter was lodged on February 27 on a Constable's complaint, wherein he claimed that on February 25 last year, between 3:30 pm to 4 pm, when he along with other personnel/staff members of his battalion were deployed with anti-riots equipment in Shiv Vihar, a riotous mob allegedly attacked them with glass bottles, acids and bricks.

As a result, they sustained injuries and were sent to LNJP Hospital for medical treatment. Similar complaints were made to the police and they were eventually clubbed in the present FIR.

ASJ Yadav expressed pain at the fact that there were a large number of Delhi riots cases pending consideration on charges before his court and that "in majority of cases the IOs (investigating officers) have not been appearing in Court, either physically or through video-conferencing at the time of consideration on charge".

The court further noted that it was given to understand that IOs had not been briefing the prosecutors for arguments on charge.

"...they simply e-mail pdf of the chargesheet to the learned Special PP and leave it upon him to argue the matter on charge as it is, without giving him an opportunity to go deep into the facts and the investigation conducted in the matter," the order read. Coming down heavily on the quality of the probe in these cases, ASJ Yadav stated that it was painful to note that in a large number of cases, "the standard of investigation is very poor".

"After filing of chargesheet in the Court, neither the IO nor the SHO nor the aforesaid supervising officers bother to see as to what other material is required to be collected from the appropriate authority in the matters and what steps are required to be taken to take the investigation to a logical end," the court observed.

ASJ Yadav added that police doesn't even bother to care about the queries of prosecutors, if any, regarding the chargesheet and the further investigation which is supposed to have been conducted in the matters. Referring to the present case, the court stated: "This case is a glaring example, wherein injured persons/victims are police personnel itself, yet the IO did not bother to collect the sample of acid/corrosive substance and to have its chemical analysis, particularly when Section 326-A IPC (voluntarily causing hurt by acid) has been invoked in the matter".

The IO has further not bothered to collect the opinion about the nature of injuries upon the victims, particularly when the provision of Section 332 IPC (causing hurt to a public servant) has been invoked. "The supervising officers have miserably failed to supervise the investigation...the learned Illaka Magistrate also failed to monitor the investigation during the course of remand proceedings before taking cognizance in the matter."

ASJ Yadav also noted that as a result the accused persons who have been roped in multiple cases continue to languish in jails, while adding that it was high time that DCP(North-East) and other high officers concerned take notice of the aforesaid observations and take immediate remedial action. A copy of the order was also sent to the Delhi Police Commissioner for reference and taking remedial steps.

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