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Muslim man’s murder: 8 granted bail, 1 rejected in 2020 Delhi riots case

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New Delhi: A court here has rejected the bail plea of an accused from whom the mobile phone of a man allegedly killed during the 2020 northeast Delhi riots was recovered, saying the finding was “circumstantial evidence” for the murder charge and “concrete evidence” for the offence of dishonestly receiving property stolen during dacoity.

The court, meanwhile, allowed the bail plea of eight others in the case, saying “concrete and sound evidence” was not found against them.

Additional Sessions Judge Pulastya Pramachala was hearing the bail pleas of Himanshu Thakur, Sahil Babu, Tinku, Sandeep, Vivek Panchal, Pankaj Sharma, Sumit Chaudhary, Prince and Ankit Chaudhary.

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According to the prosecution, the accused were part of an unlawful assembly formed on February 25 and 26, 2020 that bludgeoned to death a man named Mursaleen whose body was found floating in a drain near Johripur Tiraha.

“The recovery of the mobile phone of the deceased from Himanshu Thakur and the evidence in the form of call detail record (CDR) to show its use by his family members subsequent to the killing of Mursaleen is a kind of circumstantial evidence in respect of the charge under section 302 (murder) read with section 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object) of the Indian Penal code,” the judge said in an order passed on Monday.

ASJ Pramachala said the recovery was also “concrete evidence” for the charge under section 412 ( dishonestly receiving property stolen in the commission of a dacoity) of the IPC.

“Even section 412 is punishable up to life and hence, that charge cannot be treated as a lighter charge In these circumstances, keeping in view the severity of the charges and severity of the punishment provided for the same as well as the additional evidence his bail application is rejected,” the judge said.

The judge said the evidence against Thakur was not the same as the co-applicants for bail and other accused who were granted bail earlier.

Regarding the bail pleas of eight others, the judge said, “I do not find very concrete and sound evidence against the applicants in respect of alleged charges till this stage, and since all the material witnesses have already been examined, on the grounds of parity as well, it will not be appropriate to keep the applicants behind bars till the conclusion of the trial.”

The judge then granted bail to Sahil Babu, Tinku, Sandeep, Vivek Panchal, Pankaj Sharma, Sumit Chaudhary, Prince and Ankit Chaudhary on furnishing a personal bond and surety bond of Rs 30,000 each along with one surety in the like amount.

There are 12 accused in the case of whom co-accused Rishabh Chaudhary and Jatin Sharma were granted bail on March 7.

The prime accused in the case, Lokesh Solanki, was allegedly a member of the Kattar Hindu Ekta’ WhatsApp group.

The name of the WhatsApp group had surfaced in a supplementary charge sheet filed by Delhi Police on September 26, 2020 against nine people for the alleged murder of a man named Hashim Ali during the riots.

According to the charge sheet, ‘Kattar Hindu Ekta’ group was created on February 25 and its alleged aim was to exact revenge for the troubles faced by Hindus and promote enmity between different groups on the ground of religion.

Predecessor ASJ Virender Bhat had discharged the accused in the present case from the charge of criminal conspiracy for allegedly being a member of the group in March last year.

The Gokalpuri police station had filed a charge sheet against the accused persons under various sections of the IPC, including rioting, murder and dacoity.

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( With inputs from www.siasat.com )

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