A Delhi court on Thursday framed charges for several offences, including abduction and murder, against AAP leader Tahir Hussain and 10 others in connection with the alleged murder of Intelligence Bureau officer Ankit Sharma during the 2020 northeast Delhi riots.
Additional Sessions Judge Pulastya Pramachala was hearing the case registered at the Dayalpur Police Station against 11 accused, including Hussain, on the complaint lodged by the officer's father.
Sharma's body was recovered from Khajuri Khas drain near the Chand Bagh pulia.
"I find that accused persons namely Mohd Tahir Hussain, Haseen, Nazim, Kasim, Sameer Khan, Anas, Firoz, Javed, Gulfam, Shoib Alam and Muntajim are liable to be tried for an offence punishable under section 120 B (criminal conspiracy) IPC read with sections 147 (rioting ) 148 (rioting, armed with a deadly weapon) and 153A (punishment for promoting enmity between groups on the ground of religion etc) and 302 (murder) of the IPC," the judge said.
They are also liable to be tried under sections for kidnapping and wrongful confinement, the judge added.
All accused, except Muntajim, were put on trial for the offences under sections 153 A of the IPC read with 120B and 149 IPC, the judge said, adding, Haseen and Nazim are also liable to be tried for the offence under the provision of the Arms Act.
According to Special Public Prosecutor Madhukar Pandey, a witness had captured a video of the throwing of a dead body in the drain and the call detail records (CDR) of all accused, except accused Anas, Nazim and Kasim, proved their presence in and around the spot of the incident, which corroborated the prosecution's case against the accused.
"All accused indulged in targeting Hindus and their acts were apparently prejudicial to the harmony between communities of Muslims and Hindus. They disturbed the public tranquillity as well," the judge said.
The judge said the act of a group of more than one person from a mob can make everyone liable.
Judge Pramachal said that in the present case, it was not necessary for all members of mob to play some overt act in the killing of Ankit Sharma and according to the evidence before the court, the mob was acting in a "well-prepared manner to attack Hindus and their properties, which signified the existence of prior meeting of their mind." Tahir Hussain also played the "role of instigator to kill Hindus" and also exhorted this mob "not to spare Hindus," the judge said.
"He (Hussain) instigated the mob when Ankit came forward towards this mob and the conspiracy need not be specifically to kill Ankit. When the accused persons were acting in pursuance to conspiracy and common object to kill Hindus, it covered the killing of Ankit as well for the reasons that Ankit was killed because he was Hindu," the judge said.
The judge said the mob continuously indulged in the firing of gunshots, pelting of stones and petrol bombs "towards Hindus and houses of Hindus." "These acts of the mob make it clear that their objective was to harm Hindus in their body and property to the maximum possible extent. It is also clearly shown that this mob consciously wanted to even kill Hindus," the judge said.
The ASJ also said that at the present stage of the trial, the court cannot raise any presumption against the veracity of the statements of the witnesses because of the delay in recording their statements.
The rule of prudence can be applied only after trial, at the time of assessment of the evidence on the parameters of credibility, he added.
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