The court, on Thursday, said that there was no proof either through independent public witness or police witness of Umar Khalid being present at the scene of the crime on the date of the incident. Source- Hindustan Times
A Delhi court on Thursday granted bail to former JNU student Umar Khalid in connection with an FIR claiming “criminal conspiracy” in a northeast Delhi riots case.
The court questioned the reason behind the police creating a case of conspiracy against Mr. Khalid based on the statement of a public witness who allegedly saw him and former AAP councilor Tahir Hussain walk into a building at Shaheen Bagh in January 8 last year. Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav said, “If principal accused Tahir Hussain was moved or actuated by the applicant (Khalid) in meeting dated January 8, 2020, then the applicant should have been made co-accused in 10 other cases [in which Hussain is an accused] also which is not the case.”
Reason for Arrest
Khalid was initially arrested on September 13, 2020, in another northeast Delhi riots case being investigated by the Special Cell, where charges under the strict Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) have been invoked. He was formally arrested in the current FIR on October 1, 2020, after seven months of registration of the FIR. Mr. Khalid will continue to remain in jail as he is yet to get bail in the UAPA case.
The present FIR was registered on the statement of a constable who was on duty on main Karawal Nagar Road near Chand Bagh Pulia on February 24, 2020. According to the FIR, around 2 p.m., a large crowd gathered on the road and started pelting stones. The constable ran to a nearby parking lot to protect himself but the mob broke open the shutter and thrashed all the people who were present inside. They set the parked vehicles on fire. The constable's motorcycle was also burnt by the rioters. He somehow managed to save his life. After registration of the FIR, further investigation of the case was transferred to the Crime Branch.
Mr. Khalid in his bail plea argued that he had been falsely accused in the matter by the investigating agency on account of “political vendetta to muzzle dissent”. The 33-year-old asserted that he was not present at the scene of the crime.
The court pinpointed that the statement of the primary witness in the case barely talked of some meeting between Mr. Khalid, co-accused Hussain, and Khalid Saifi. The same does not disclose about the subject matter of such meeting, said the court. Judge Yadav further stressed that the same person was also a witness in the UAPA case. When the statement of this witness was recorded on May 21, last year in the UAPA case, “he did not utter a single word against” Mr. Khalid. “..now all of a sudden”, he in his statement recorded on September 27, 2020, “blew the trumpet of criminal conspiracy” against the applicant, the Judge noted. “This prima facie does not appeal to the senses.”
“The applicant (Khalid) 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 added.