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'Probe in mosque burning case hurried, in unholy haste'

Probe in mosque burning case hurried, in unholy haste
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New Delhi: Pulling up the Delhi Police for its shoddy and callous investigation in a case related to the burning and arson of Madina Masjid in Shiv Vihar during the North-East Delhi riots, a Delhi court on Wednesday remarked that the police is proceeding in the matter in a "hurried" and "unholy haste".

The case pertains to that of one Hashim Ali who had also been made an accused in his own case regarding the burning and arson at his house in Shiv Vihar.

However, after coming out of prison, Ali tried to lodge a complaint in the sabotage and arson at Madina Masjid, naming 14 accused persons of his locality, where on February 25 last year, riots broke out after a power cut in the area and a mob set two LPG cylinders on fire. A saffron flag was also allegedly planted atop the mosque by a local named by Ali.

Following this, on February 2, a court had also ordered the police to register an FIR into the incident citing commission of a cognizable offence.

But now the Delhi Police has told a local court that they had in fact registered a separate FIR in the desecration of the mosque last year during the riots but have admitted in open court that no investigation has been done in cases. In their status report of the case, they said the probe is underway.

The one-and-a-half-page status report says that in one year, the police had seized the mobile phones of 14 accused named by Hashim, were yet to seize mobiles of nine other accused identified on video, were yet to receive the forensic reports of photos of accused with covered faces and were yet to analyse the CDR records of the accused.

In addition, the police said another complainant in the same case was not in the country and so he was yet to be examined.

During Wednesday's hearing, Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav, the judge lambasted Sub-Inspector Suman when he could not satisfactorily answer for the delayed probe.

When asked what investigation he had done since the case was marked to him, SI Suman told the court that he had contracted coronavirus during that time.

ASJ Yadav then asked what he did when he was doing well. "Now I have to become a police officer...did you write a DD Entry? What did you do in the case and who all were interrogated? Was the complaint that frightening that you got coronavirus as a result? Your tongue has vanished now?"

To this, SI Suman told the court: "I did not do anything…"

ASJ Yadav shot back, "Should I write to the Police Commissioner? That in a case of communal riots where an accused has been named, our officers thought that investigation wasn't necessary?..."

After SI Suman apologised, ASJ Yadav asked, "For how many days have you kept Hashim Ali inside jail? Who will be responsible for it?"

Advocate M R Shamshad, on behalf of Ali, argued, "This clubbing business has taken place...I can say with all the responsibility that a good book will be made and their actions will be castigated for all they have done… There is no law that can justify this...are you siding with the accused? You are clubbing FIRs at your will...a year has gone by...after some time Hashim (Ali) will also die...police will be rewarded for their investigation…"

"There is nothing on record suggesting that he investigated the complaint...he has categorically admitted in court that he did not investigate," ASJ Yadav noted in his order.

"...it is a matter of record that till February 26, SHO PS Karawal Nagar has no idea about the FIR which has been registered with regard to the desecration of Madina Masjid...police is proceeding in a hurried and unholy haste," the court said.

The next hearing in the case is now on April 19.

Meanwhile, in another matter where Ali had moved a revision petition against a February 24 order by a Magistrate court where cognizance was taken in a chargesheet of Chand's case where Ali is one of the accused, ASJ Yadav stayed the proceedings in the matter and summoned the original case file, the IO and SHO of PS Karawal Nagar on the next date of hearing on April 24.

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