A court in Delhi has rejected the bail plea of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Tahir Hussain in a 2020 northeast Delhi riots case registered against him.
The court observed that witnesses who had deposed regarding Hussain's role in the case would be "under tremendous pressure and threat" if he was granted bail.
Hussain had applied for bail in the case which was registered on a statement by complainant Ajay Goswami who had suffered a bullet injury during an incident of rioting on the Main Karawal Nagar Road on February 25, 2020.
The court had framed charges against Hussain and seven others in the case for offences, including an attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy, on November 5.
"Therefore, not only is there a case with serious allegations against the applicant, but there are also serious apprehensions of influence and threat to the witnesses," Additional Sessions Judge Pulastya Pramachala said in an order passed on Wednesday.
"Keeping in view all these facts and circumstances, I do not find any favourable change in the circumstances for the applicant, so as to allow this application," the judge said.
The court said that in its earlier order on November 5, it had held Hussain along with the other accused liable to be tried for "hatching a criminal conspiracy to indulge in riot and kill Hindus and harm properties of Hindus and consequent to such conspiracy firing and causing gunshot injury to the complainant Ajay Goswami".
The court said there was "active complicity" of Hussain in the incident as well "in the conspiracy to target Hindus and their properties in that area during riots".
Rejecting Hussain's argument that he was a victim and his house was occupied by rioters against his wishes, the court said the claim appeared to be an "afterthought defence".
"The allegations prima facie accepted against the applicant while deciding charges would show that he was involved in the conspiracy to ignite riot, instigating the persons from his community against other community and facilitating the attack on Hindus from his house, after making due preparation for the same," the court said.
It also said Hussain was a municipal councillor from the area, thus having "good influence" and "a person with followings".
"The witnesses in this case, who have given an account of the role of the applicant, thus, would be under tremendous pressure and threat, if the applicant is granted bail in this case and therefore, not only there exists a case with serious allegations against the applicant, but there is also serious apprehensions of influence and threat to the witnesses," the court said.
During the hearing, Special Public Prosecutor Madhukar Pandey opposed the bail application and argued that Hussain was "the kingpin" behind the riots.
The Dayalpur police station had filed a charge sheet against Hussain under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code and under the Arms Act.