A Delhi court on Monday sent a private school owner to one day police custody to investigate “only local conspiracy” in a case related to communal violence in northeast Delhi during the anti-CAA protests in February.
The order was passed by Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav who set aside June 24 decision of a Magistrate court which had refused to grant police custody of Faisal Farooq, owner of the Rajdhani School in Shiv Vihar locality,
Among the issues likely to be probed by the police is how a huge catapult was fixed and used by the rioters from the building of the accused.
The sessions court granted his custodial remand on the condition that he shall not be taken out of Delhi.
“It is clearly evident from the manner in which the riots broke out on February 24, particularly at or around Rajdhani Public School that on a local level some conspiracy was there in which the local organizer had collected the local protestors. There is a mute question which stares us at our face as to how a huge catapult can be fixed in the building belonging to the respondent (Farooq),” the court said in its order.
It further took note of the fact that the local police, who are investigating the second case, have not been given even a single day's custody remand of Farooq to “at least unearth the local conspiracy”.
“I am conscious of the rights of an accused. I am equally conscious of the entitlement of investigating agency to be allowed to have investigation in the larger public interest. Now, that only one day's time is left for the local police to have custodial remand of the respondent, I hereby set aside the impugned order and grant one day's police custody remand of the respondent in the subsequent case to IO/SHO, PS Dayalpur, subject to the condition that respondent shall not be taken out of Delhi.
"Only local conspiracy angle needs to be investigated, bearing in mind all the precautions required for Covid-19 situation,” the judge said.
The sessions court further said it was common knowledge that riots within the jurisdiction of Police Station Dayalpur were “pretty rampant”.
“It is also a part of investigation that a huge "catapult" was lying installed in the building of Rajdhani Public School. There is clear evidence on record that a lot of rioters had entered into the building of Rajdhani Public School and had caused damage to the adjoining school by the name of DRP Public School. A lot of damage had also been caused to the buildings around the Rajdhani Public School and several casualties had taken place,” it said.
Farooq was among the 18 arrested for alleged involvement in burning and damaging property of the adjacent DRP Convent School. He was granted bail in the case on June 20 and two days later he was arrested in a separate case of rioting in the area.
Metropolitan Magistrate Richa Parihar did not grant police custody in the second case saying there was a 4-month delay in filing his remand application in the case even as the facts were within the knowledge of the investigating officer from the first day of the incident.
During the hearing held through video conferencing, Additional Public Prosecutor Amit Kumar, appearing for the police, told the court that that second case was registered on February 25, on the complaint of one Vijayant Kumar, who mentioned that 50-60 persons had collected at Rajdhani Public School and had illegal weapons with them and they were about to put on fire the nearby houses.
The counsel further said that the first case in which Farooq was arrested, was registered on the complaint of the manager of DRP Public School with regard to the incident of February 24.
Police had earlier sought four days remand of the accused (Farooq) in the second case saying the local police wanted to investigate his role in local conspiracy, local organization of “dharna-pradarshan” and his links with local protesters and rioters, the public prosecutor said.
He further noted that police had earlier claimed that the building of Rajdhani Public School was taken over by rioters and a huge catapult was lying installed on its roof-top from where petrol bombs, acid bombs and stones were pelted by the rioters on the houses of people belonging to another community, which had caused heavy casualty.
Advocate R K Kochar, appearing for Farooq, told the court that the incident in both the FIRs was same and during the hearing of arguments on the bail plea in the first case, the investigating officer of the Crime Branch of Delhi police had categorically conceded that he was not required in any other case.
Police had also earlier claimed that Farooq had attended some religious congregation in Deoband, Uttar Pradesh and many rioters had come to north-east Delhi from there.
The trial court had granted him bail in the first case in which he was arrested, on the ground that it was prima facie not established that he was present at the spot at the time of incident.
The police had challenged it before the Delhi High Court which had first put a stay on the trial court''s order and later vacated the stay.