A rickshaw driver incarcerated since April 2020 in connection with Delhi riots case was granted bail, by the Delhi High Court on Monday (Rashid vs State).
In its order, a single-judge Bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait noted that as was seen in the accused’s bail application in a connected FIR for the alleged vandalism, robbery and arson on the same day, as part of the continuum of the incidents, his CDR location did not establish his presence at the incident site.
The case at hand pertained to an FIR registered for the commission of offences punishable under Sections 147/148/149/302/201/436/427/120-B/34 IPC.
As per the prosecution case, on February 26, 2020, following rioting, stone-pelting and chanting of anti-Hindu slogans, a mob had ransacked and torched many shops in an area in North-East Delhi.
One body without hands and legs was found lying in a burnt condition in a sweet shop.
The petitioner sought bail on the ground that the prosecution’s case was “flimsy” which was based on the statement of a student of 12th standard and his CDR location.
The petitioner inter alia also highlighted the prosecution’s admission in the other FIR that his CDR location did not establish his presence at the incident site but only close to the incident site.
Doubts were also raised with regard to the credibility of the witness of the prosecution.
Opposing bail, the prosecution argued that the petitioner was actively involved in the riot which caused the death of a person. It was inter alia stated that as per CDR, the mobile location of the petitioner was found in the area.
In view of the submissions made by the petitioner and that the only evidence against the petitioner was under Sections 147/148/149/153-A IPC, the Court deemed it appropriate to admit the petitioner on bail.
Even in the supplementary charge-sheet, nothing more has been said against the petitioner, the Court said.
“It is not in dispute that the prosecution has admitted the factum that CDR location of the petitioner does not establish his presence at the incident site in bail application No.214/2021 filed by the petitioner in FIR No.134/2020 before Ld. ASJ. This admission supports the case of petitioner that his CDR locations are only in the vicinity of the incident site for he resides in Shakti Vihar which is close to the incident site and his possibility is there being an Auto Rickshaw Puller. Further, while allowing the bail application No.214/2021, the Ld. ASJ took note of unreliability of the testimony of Roop Singh a key witness in the present FIR No.39/2020,” it added.
The Court also recorded that the statement of the witness under Section 161 CrPC, which is heavily relied upon, was recorded only on March 11, 2020.
“The petitioner being Auto Rickshaw Puller is not a flight risk and no opportunity to temper with the evidence. The charge-sheet has been filed and case is committed before Ld. ASJ on 15.01.2021 and now listed for arguments on charge. Thus, trial of the present case will take substantial time.
..In view of the aforesaid facts, however, without commenting on the merits of the prosecution case, I am of the view, the petitioner deserves bail,” the Court opined.
The Court clarified that the trial court shall not get influenced by the observations made by it.
Advocate Tara Narula, Nikita Agarwal appeared for the petitioner.
Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju with SPPs Amit Mahajan, Amit Prasad and Rajat Nair appeared for the Prosecution.