A Delhi court on Thursday granted bail to former JNU student Umar Khalid in a case related to the communal violence in northeast Delhi in February last year, saying that he cannot be made to incarcerate in jail for infinity. Further, the court said the investigation in the case has been completed and the chargesheet has been filed and it is the case in which Khalid was not physically present at the scene of the crime on the date of the incident.
"The applicant is not visible in any CCTV footage/viral video(s) pertaining to the scene of crime on the date of the incident. There is no identification of the applicant either through independent public witness or any police witness of he being present at the scene of crime on the date of incident," Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav noted in the order.
Khalid, however, will remain in jail as he is accused in some other cases, including one related to the criminal conspiracy lodged under stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The former JNU student leader was granted bail in the case in which the FIR was registered on the statement of constable Sangram Singh, where he stated that on February 24, 2020 at about 2 pm, a large crowd gathered on the road in a locality in the northeast Delhi and started pelting stones in which he and other police officials got injured as they were thrashed by the mob.
They set the vehicles in a parking area nearby on fire, including the motorcycle of the complainant, he had said. Granting bail in the case, the court noted that even the CDR location of the mobile phone of the applicant was not found at the scene of crime on the date of incident.
The applicant has merely been roped in the matter on basis of his own disclosure statement, fourth disclosure statement of co-accused Tahir Hussain and disclosure statement of co-accused Khalid Saifi, it said, adding that no recovery of any sort has been affected from the applicant pursuant to his disclosure statement.
The court rejected prosecution's argument that the applicant had been in regular contact/touch with co-accused Tahir Hussain and Khalid Saifi over mobile phone and said that prima facie that does not in any way go on to establish the criminal conspiracy alleged against the applicant in the matter.
The court further noted that Khalid was made accused on the basis of his as well as co-accused Tahir Hussain's disclosure statements.
"Hussain is an accused in ten other cases of this cluster of Chand Bagh puliya, i.e, at or around his house, but in no other case the applicant has been made co-accused, even on the strength of material sought to be read against him in this matter. I do not find any rationale in the act of police in involving the applicant in this solitary case for the offence of conspiracy. If principal accused Tahir Hussain was moved or actuated by the applicant in a meeting dated January 8, 2020 then the applicant should have been made co-accused in ten other cases also which is not the case," the judge noted.
The judge further observed that 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," the judge noted.
While observing that the investigation in the matter was complete and chargesheet had already been filed, the court said the trial in the matter is likely to take a long time. The applicant has been in judicial custody in the matter since January 1, 2020."
"The applicant cannot be made to be incarcerated 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 said.
The court said the accused deserved bail on the parity with co-accused Khalid Saifi. The bail was granted on furnishing a Personal Bond in the sum of Rs 20,000 with one surety in the like amount, and the court directed that he shall maintain peace and harmony in the locality.
It further said the accused shall not tamper with the evidence or influence any witness in any manner and appear before the court on each and every date of hearing to attend the proceedings in accordance.
The court also directed that Khalid shall furnish his mobile number to SHO, PS Khajuri Khas upon his release from the jail and will ensure the same to be in working condition and further he shall also get installed Aarogya Setu App in his mobile phone.
While seeking bail, the accused said that he deserved parity with co-accused in the case Khalid Saifi, who was granted bail on November 4, 2020, as the role assigned to him was on the same page/identical footing.
Some other co accused, including Riyasat Ali, Liyakat Ali and Shah Alam were granted bail earlier this month by the Delhi high court. The counsel for the accused also claimed that he was falsely implicated in the matter by the investigating agency on account of political vendetta to muzzle the dissent.
The applicant was not physically present at the spot/scene of crime on the date of the alleged incident and that is the reason he is neither visible in any CCTV footage/ viral video nor any of the witnesses have specifically named him to be part/member of the riotous mob, the bail application said.