‘Cannot be made to incarcerate in jail for infinity’: Court grants bail to Umar Khalid in Delhi riots case

Khalid however remains in judicial custody in connection with the Delhi riots larger conspiracy case concerning UAPA charges under FIR 59/2020.

A Delhi Court on Thursday granted bail to Umar Khalid in connection with a Delhi Riots case concerning Khajuri Khas FIR (FIR no.101/2020) after observing that he cannot be permitted to remain behind bars on the basis of sketchy material against him.

Noting that the investigation in the case was complete and chargesheet had also been filed, Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav granted bail after observing that he “cannot be made to incarcerate in jail for infinity merely on account of the fact that other persons who were part of the riotous mob have to be identified and arrested in the matter.”

Noting that other co accused persons including Khalid Saifi, Riyasat Ali, Liyakat Ali, Shah Alam and Gulfam have been granted bail, the Court considered it a fit case to grant bail to Khalid on the ground of parity.

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The Court granted bail to Khalid subject to furnishing of a Personal Bond in the sum of Rs.20,000/ with one surety in the like amount and subject to the condition that he shall not tamper with the evidence or influence any witness in any manner, maintain peace and appear before the Court on every date of hearing.

Khalid however remains in judicial custody in connection with the Delhi riots larger conspiracy case concerning UAPA charges under FIR 59/2020.

FIR was registered against Khalid under sec. 109, 114, 147, 148, 149, 153-A, 186, 212, 353, 395, 427, 435, 436, 452/, 454, 505 , 34 and 120-B of IPC along with sec. 3 and 4 of Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act and sec. 25 and 27 of Arms Act. The said FIR was registered on the basis of statement of Constable Sangram Singh wherein it was stated that a large crowd had gathered near Chand Bagh Pulia on 24th February 2020 and started pelting stones.

It was also stated that while he went to a nearby parking lot to save himself, the mob had broken the shutter of the parking lot and thrashed people present inside, thereby setting the vehicles on fire. The case was thereafter transferred to the Crime Branch on 28th February.

During the course of investigation, it was found that building of the principal accused Tahir Hussain was used by the alleged rioters for brick batting, stone pelting, pelting of petrol bombs and acid bombs and the aforesaid material was also found lying on the third floor and rooftop of the building.

It was argued on behalf of Khalid that he was being falsely implicated in the case due to “political vendetta to muzzle the dissent”. 

Arguing that Khalid was not present physically at the crime scene on the date of alleged incident, it was also contended that he was neither visible in any CCTV footage/ viral video nor any of the witnesses had specifically named him to be part/member of the riotous mob. Other than this, bail was also sought on the ground of parity.

On the other hand, it was submitted by the prosecution that since the case was sensitive in nature, the investigation had revealed a deep rooted conspiracy which triggered the Delhi riots. Moreover, it was also argued that web of conspirators, instigators and rioters were identified and several of them were arrested by the investigating agency. 

Furthermore, the prosecution argued that the riots “were not impromptu, but were conspired with the intent to create communal strife and to malign the image of the country under the garb of democratically opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act”. It was also argued that the intention of the accused persons was to cause maximum damage to the persons and property of other community.

Observation of the Court 

The Court while analyzing the facts of the case noted that Khalid was merely been roped in the matter on basis of his own disclosure statement, disclosure statement of co-accused Tahir Hussain and Khalid Saifi. Moreover the Court also observed that no identification either by public witnesses or by police witnesses of him being present at the crime scene was done.

The Court observed thus:

“From the perusal of charge sheet, it is clearly evident that the role assigned to applicant in the matter is categorically different and distinct from the role attributed to aforesaid co-accused persons, as firstly it has nowhere been the case of prosecution that applicant was physically present at the scene of crime (SOC) on the date of incident; secondly the applicant has nowhere been captured in any CCTV footage/viral video; and thirdly neither any independent witness nor any police witness has identified the applicant to be present at the scene of crime. Prima facie, the applicant appears to have been roped in the matter merely on the basis of his own disclosure statement and disclosure statement of co-accused Tahir Hussain.”

Observing that Khalid cannot be permitted to remain behind bars in this case on the basis of such a sketchy material against him, the Court also went ahead to observe that chargesheeting Khalid in the present case on the basis of such an insignificant material was unwarranted.

“The investigation in the matter is complete and charge sheet has already been filed. The trial in the matter is likely to take long time. The applicant has been in judicial custody in the matter since 01.10.2020. 

The applicant cannot be made to incarcerate in jail for infinity merely on account of the fact that other persons who were part of the riotous mob have to be identified and arrested in the matter.” The Court observed.

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