A Delhi court Monday acquitted 12 people, arrested in a case related to the death of a woman due to gunshot injuries during rioting in 2015, saying manipulation of evidence by the police cannot be ruled out in the matter. Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav acquitted Aas Mohd, Rajesh Kumar, Shahzad Ahmad, Mohd Rihan, Azaz, Hanifuddin, Zakir Hussain, Imran, Mohd Farman, Alam Khan, Parvez and Imran of the charges of murder (302), rioting (147, 148), unlawful assembly (149), criminal conspiracy (120-B) of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and relevant sections of the Arms Act.
As per the prosecution, in February 2015, during the Delhi Legislative Assembly elections, around 10-11 boys, some of them armed with pistols, surrounded the house of one Haji Yameen, in Khajuri Khas area. Police alleged Yameen, an agent of Aam Aadmi Party, had an argument with accused Hanifuddin that afternoon regarding casting of some bogus votes. The mob hurled abuses and started firing indiscriminately in which one Shukhra Begum died of bullet injuries, police had claimed.
The court noted that the doctor conducting the postmortem of the deceased had handed over all the seized materials, including the bullet, to the investigating officer (IO) on February 8, 2015, but according to the seizure memo, the IO had received the bullet from the mortuary on February 19, 2015.
The Judge said in the order: I find substance in the submissions of defence counsel(s) that in view of the deposition of prosecution witness ASI Umesh Singh, it is crystal clear that IO Inspector Sanwar Mal did not conduct any proceedings on February 19, 2015, at the mortuary of GTB Hospital and manipulated the date of seizure from the actual date, that is February 8, 2015, to February 19, 2015, with the sole motive of replacing/changing the actual recovered bullet from the forehead of deceased with another bullet after firing the same with a pistol and later on planted the said bullet and pistol upon accused Rajesh.
It was obligatory on the part of IO to have received/collected all the preserved articles by preparing the seizure memo. So, the manipulation with the third pulinda, that is, the bottle containing the lead piece of bullet (which was taken out from the forehead of the deceased during her postmortem) cannot be ruled out. The court further said the IO did not send the CD containing CCTV footage of the incident to the forensic lab for examination. As if this was not enough, the lackadaisical attitude of IO further pulled down the curtains for the already slippery prosecution case. Admittedly, the IO did not send the seized DVR, CD containing CCTV footage and the audio CD containing the alleged conversation between accused Zakir and prosecution witness Sher Khan Malik to FSL for examination; he even did not take the voice sample(s) of accused Zakir and Malik. This is a material lapse on the part of investigating agency as it had failed to prove an important connecting link in the chain of events which are required to be proved by the prosecution before it could take its case towards the other connecting links for the purpose of proving the ingredients with which the accused persons have been charged with, it noted.
It further noted that star witnesses, Yameen and his son Imran, who was the alleged eye witness to the incident, turned hostile and did not state anything about the involvement of accused persons in the incident nor did they identify them. All the accused had claimed they have been falsely implicated in the case.