Delhi violence: Court refuses to grant police custody of school owner, cites delay in plea

New Delhi: A Delhi court has refused to grant police custody of a private school owner in a case related to communal violence in northeast Delhi during the anti-CAA protests in February, citing 4-month delay in filing of the application even as the facts were within the knowledge of the investigating officer from the first day of the incident.

Faisal Farooq, owner of the Rajdhani School in Shiv Vihar locality, 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 sent Farooq to judicial custody in the second case related to rioting, saying the allegations and the facts of both the FIRs were similar.

The date of occurrence of both the incidents in which he was arrested were similar and thus the ingredient of the alleged offence in both the FIRs were more or less similar, the court said in its June 24 order.

It is the matter of record that accused Faisal Farooq was arrested in the (first) case and taken into police custody for three days on the pretext that he has to be taken to various places in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and some parts of Delhi," the judge said.

He added that the allegations and the facts of both the FIRs were similar.

"I do not find any jurisdiction in moving the present application after delay of four months when the facts were within the knowledge of the IO himself from the very first day of incident and moreover, both the cases were simultaneously registered at the same police station, that is Dayalpur.

Considering overall facts and circumstance of the case and I do not consider it a fit case for grant of police custody remand of accused, the judge said.

The police moved an application seeking four-day custody to identify and arrest the co-accused and collect corroborative evidence in the case.

During the hearing, the IO told the court that 76 FIRs have been registered in connection to rioting around the school and the facts of the present case were different from the first case in which Farooq was arrested in March.

He needed to be taken to Devband in Uttar Pradesh for further investigation, the police said.

Advocate R K Kocchar, appearing for Farooq, told the court that the application seeking police custody was an abuse of process of law.

FIR in the present case has been registered mala fide against Farooq and on the same facts as the previous case in which he was arrested, the counsel said.

He further claimed that Farooq was formally arrested in the case on June 22 only to defeat the purpose of bail granted to him on June 20.

The Delhi High Court had on June 22 put a stay on the trial court's bail order after the police challenged it.

The trial court had granted him bail on the ground that it was prima facie not established that he was present at the spot at the time of incident.

The trial court, in its bail order, had noted that the charge sheet filed against him in the case was bereft of material showing his alleged links with the Popular Front of India, Pinjra Tod (Break the Cage) group and Muslim clerics.

The Crime Branch of Delhi Police had on June 3 filed a charge sheet against the accused for allegedly conspiring with the Popular Front of India, Pinjra Tod, Jamia Coordination Committee and Hazrat Nizamuddin Markaz for creating riots, in and around his school.

It has also been alleged that protestors against the Citizen (Amendment) Act (CAA) had received funds from the PFI, formed in 2006 in Kerala as a successor to the National Democratic Front (NDF).

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