Delhi Riots: Court Orders Framing Of Rioting, Murder Charges Against Ex-AAP Leader Tahir Hussain

The court said Tahir Hussain and others targeted Hindus and their acts were apparently prejudicial to the harmony between Muslims and Hindus.

Ex-AAP councillor Tahir Hussain

A Delhi court on Friday ordered the framing of riots and murder charges against former Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Tahir Hussain in a case concerning 2020 Delhi Riots.

The court said Hussain and five other accused indulged in targeting Hindus and their acts were apparently prejudicial to the harmony between Muslims and Hindus.

Besides Hussain, Additional Sessions Judge Pulastya Pramachala also ordered the framing of charges against Tanvir Malik, Gulfam, Nazim, Kasim, and Shah Alam while hearing a case registered by one Ajay Jha, who was allegedly shot at by a mob near Chand Bagh on February 25, 2020. 

"I find all accused persons liable to be tried for offences punishable under Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) read with Sections 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with a deadly weapon), 153A (promoting enmity between classes), and 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code," the judge said in an order dated October 13.

The judge further ordered framing of charges against all the accused under Sections 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object) and 307 (attempt to murder) of the IPC.

"They are also found liable to be tried for offences punishable under Sections 147, 148, 307 read with 120B and 149 of the IPC… and offences punishable under Section 153A read with 120B and 149 of the IPC," the judge said.

Special Public Prosecutor Madhukar Pandey clarified that the substantive offence was framed for the charge of attempt to murder, adding that as the conspiracy was to murder, charges for the offence of criminal conspiracy read with murder and others were framed.

Gulfam and Tanveer were also liable to be tried under the Arms Act, the court said.

The court siad, "From the statements of various witnesses, it was reflected that all accused were part of the mob that continuously indulged in the firing of gunshots, pelting of stones, and petrol bombs towards Hindus and houses of Hindus. These acts of the mob make it clear that their objective was to harm Hindus in their body and property to the maximum possible extent."

The statements of witnesses also made it clear that indiscriminate as well as pointed firing by the mob, several people, including the complainant, sustained bullet injuries, the court said.

It held that a test identification parade (TIP) was not required in the case as the accused were known to the witnesses, and omissions, such as the absence of video and non-recovery of the actual weapon, did not make the prosecution's case unbelievable.

The court said, "Significance of such omissions depends upon the facts of each case and that too at the final stage of the case. All accused are liable to be tried for hatching a criminal conspiracy to indulge in riot and kill Hindus and harm the properties of Hindus and consequent to such conspiracy firing and causing gunshot injury to (complainant) Ajay Jha."

The judge, however, discharged them from the offences under Sections 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house, etc.) and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) of the IPC.

The court noted that planning to ignite a communal riot and initiating measures to commit the act could be an umbrella conspiracy and those part of it may or may not be involved in each of the other conspiracies and vice versa.

Dayalpur police station had filed a chargesheet against the accused in a magisterial court and the case was committed to the sessions court in January 2021.

A supplementary chargesheet was then committed to the court in October 2021.

Meanwhile, in a similar matter where another victim named Prince Bansal suffered a gunshot injury at the same time and place, the court noted that charges had already been framed for criminal conspiracy and acts resulting in the offences.

It was reported at the time of riots that a building owned by Hussain was at the centre of violence in the area.

Open magazine reported, "A building owned by him stands right in front of the locality. Amateur videos shot on February 25th show its rooftop full of people hurling stones and petrol bombs all over. While Hussain has claimed that he was rescued himself by the police, a few crates of petrol bombs have been recovered from that rooftop...The residents of Moonga Nagar allege that it is from the entrance of Hussain’s house that three people, including a special assistant of the Intelligence Bureau, Ankit Sharma, were dragged inside. Sharma’s badly mutilated body was found the next morning in a drain nearby."

(With PTI inputs)