Delhi riots: Court grants bail to school owner

New Delhi: A Delhi court Monday granted bail to a private school owner in a north east Delhi riots case, saying it was evident that the probe started late only after he was granted bail in another case and

statements of witnesses were hurriedly recorded whose veracity would be tested at the time of the trial.

While granting bail to Faisal Farooq, owner of Rajdhani School in Shiv Vihar, Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav said though the accused was in jail for a considerable period of time, the police has hardly been able to bring on record any material against him for criminal conspiracy.

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The court noted that until June, virtually no investigation was done in the matter.

Farooq was arrested in another case for his alleged involvement in burning and damaging the property of adjacent DRP Convent School during the riots. He was granted bail in the case in June, after which he was arrested in the second case.

It is, however, evident that till June 20, 2020, virtually no investigation had been done in the present matter and after the applicant (Farooq) was admitted to bail in the (first) case, that the statements were hurriedly recorded, the veracity whereof to be tested at the time of trial. Prima facie, sections 307 (attempt to murder), 153A (promoting enmity on the grounds of religion, caste, language etc) and 155 (liability of person for whose benefit riot is committed) IPC (Indian Penal Code) are not made out against the applicant.

“The applicant has been in jail for a considerable period. During the last almost ten months, the applicant has been in judicial custody and the police has been hardly able to bring on record any material against him under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) IPC, the court said in its order.

It granted bail to Farooq on furnishing a bail bond of Rs 20,000 with one surety of like amount in a case related to rioting in Dayalpur area.

During the hearing, his counsel argued that he was falsely implicated in the matter.

The lawyer said that the accused was in judicial custody since March 9 and he was arrested in the present case in June, but till July, section 307, 153-A were not invoked in the matter by the police.

The sections were invoked in the charge sheet by the police, his counsel said and added that nobody got injured in the case and prior to arresting him in the matter, it was never communicated to the court about his alleged involvement.

Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad, appearing for the police, opposed the bail plea, saying witnesses have stated in their statements that Farooq was allegedly involved in the riots.

The court noted that prosecution has admitted that the accused was not seen in any CCTV footage and several cases of riots have been solved in account of the CCTV cameras installed at the school of the accused.

It further said that with regard to the delay in recording the statements of witnesses and the veracity thereof, the public prosecutor had no answer.

I refrain from commenting upon the manner in which the case diaries in the matter have been maintained, lest it may prejudice the case of prosecution, the judge said in his order.

Communal violence had broken out in northeast Delhi on February 24 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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