A court here on Tuesday acquitted a man of rioting, dacoity, and other charges in a case of ransacking and looting a shop during the north-east Delhi riots in February last year. Calling it a clear-cut case of acquittal, Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat said there was no identification of the accused, and the testimonies of the witnesses were completely contradictory to each other.
This is the first judgment in the case concerning the riots that broke out in north-east Delhi in February 2020 during the anti-CAA protests. Trial is underway in many cases related to the violence that killed 53 people.
According to the police, Suresh, now acquitted, along with a huge crowd of rioters carrying iron rods and sticks, allegedly broke open the lock of a shop situated in Delhi's Babarpur Road and looted it on the evening of February 25. The shop belonged to one Bhagat Singh and was rented to Asif, who is the complainant in the case.
During the investigation, Singh told the police that the rioters were aggressive and wanted to loot the said shop because it was of a Muslim and he tried to stop them but in vain. Both Singh and Head Constable Sunil, who was the beat constable in the area, later identified Suresh as part of the rioters.
Suresh was arrested on April 7, 2020 and admitted on bail on February 25, 2021 after spending ten months in Mandoli Jail. On March 9, 2021, the court framed charges against him under sections 143 (punishment for unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 427 (mischief), 454 (lurking house-trespass) read with section 149 (unlawful assembly) and section 395 (dacoity) of the IPC.
Suresh had pleaded not guilty and claimed trial. ASJ Rawat was earlier slated to pronounce the judgment in the case on April 24 but the verdict was deferred seven times pursuant to that. Advocate Rajiv Pratap Singh represented the accused, while Saleem Ahmed was the Public Prosecutor in the case.
Communal clashes had broken out in north-east Delhi in February 2020, after violence between the Citizenship (Amendment) Act supporters and its protesters spiraled out of control leaving at least 53 people dead and over 700 injured.