Delhi riots: Prima facie Umar Khalid, Tahir Hussain, others conspired together, says court

New Delhi: There was reasonable ground to prima facie show that former JNU student leader Umar Khalid, suspended AAP Councillor Tahir Hussain and others conspired on north-east Delhi riots last year, a court here said on Tuesday while taking cognisance of the supplementary charge sheet filed in the case.

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Dinesh Kumar said there was sufficient material on record to proceed against Khalid in the case related to the communal violence in Khajuri Khas area in February last year.

The court said a witness statement was sufficient to show that during the relevant time, Khalid was allegedly in contact with Hussain, accused as the main conspirator who had funded the communal riots and instigated the mob from his house to rob the people and burn down properties.

It noted that the prosecution has alleged in the charge sheet that Khalid was an active participant in the criminal conspiracy to instigate communal riots in various parts of Delhi.

“Due to the instigation by the accused persons, a mob had gathered which had robbed persons and burnt down the properties including houses and shops. They had also destroyed the public property,” it said in its order.

It noted that the prosecution has relied upon the statement of a witness named Rahul Kasana and a perusal of his statement under section 161 (examination by police) CrPC would show that he has stated that he was working as driver of Hussain at the relevant time. The court said as per his statement, Kasana had seen accused Hussain allegedly distributing money to the persons who were participating in the demonstration against the Citizenship Amendment Act.

It said the statement alleged that on January 8, 2020, he had taken Hussain to Shaheen Bagh where the latter had entered in an office after deboarding the car and after sometime he had seen Umar Khalid along with Khalid Saifi allegedly entering inside the office. The court said: “After about 1­-1.5 hours, accused Tahir Hussain had come out of the office. The statement of this witness is sufficient to show that during the relevant time, accused Umar Khalid was in contact with accused Tahir Hussain against whom there is sufficient material on record to prima facie show that he was the main conspirator who had funded the communal riots and instigated the mob from his house to rob the persons and to burn down the properties. “Thus, there is reasonable ground to prima facie show that accused Umar Khalid, accused Tahir Hussain and other accused persons had conspired together to commit offences as mentioned in the charge sheet. Hence, there is sufficient material on record to proceed against accused Umar Khalid.” The court directed the investigating officer to supply a copy of the supplementary charge sheet to Khalid through the concerned Jail Superintendent.

Meanwhile, the court also issued notice to the police on an application moved by Khalid alleging that a “vicious Media campaign” was being conducted against him. The application claimed that sections of the media were getting access to the charge sheet even before the accused or his counsel got it.

The police had filed the supplementary charge sheet against Khalid in the case on December 26 last year. The main charge sheet was filed against 15 persons, including Hussain, in June last year.

Khalid was arrested in the case in October, 2020, and was in judicial custody. He was arrested in September last year in a separate case related to the conspiracy in the riots and booked under the stringent anti-terror law – Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Communal violence had broken out in northeast Delhi on February 24 last year after clashes between citizenship law supporters and protesters spiralled out of control leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured.

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