A Delhi court on Thursday framed charges of murder and arson against five accused for allegedly setting a man on fire inside the Ramlila Ground during last year’s riots, to which they have pleaded not guilty and claimed trial.
As per Delhi Police, five men shot Mohd Anwar and set him on fire inside Ramlila Ground opposite his house in Delhi’s Karawal Nagar area, as he was from a “different community”. The police stated that only a small piece of his leg could be recovered.
Additional Sessions Judge said that prima facie there is enough material on record to frame charges against the accused, namely Lakhpat Rajora, Yogesh, Lalit, and two men named Kuldeep under the requisite sections of the Indian Penal Code.
Following this, the charges were explained to the accused persons in vernacular and asked if they plead guilty or claim trial, to which they all pleaded not guilty and claimed trial in the case.
The judge noted that the Call Data Record (CDR) locations of all the accused have been found at the spot on the date of the incident, which is prima facie out of their routine locations.
ASJ Yadav also concurred with the prosecution’s contentions that the accused were not visible in the CCTV footage as the rioters had broken virtually every camera in the vicinity and damaged the digital video recorders (DVRs) during the violence.
The judge noted that even though there was a delay in recording the statement of public witnesses, he cannot lose sight of the fact that police were facing difficulty to trace them as people were shocked and traumatized and it took them time to muster the courage to report the matter.
“Statements cannot be brushed aside merely because there has been some delay in recording thereof or that the complainant did not specifically name/identify the accused persons in his initial written complaint made to the police,” the sessions judge said.
They have been charged under sections 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 302 (murder), 395 (dacoity), 427 (mischief), 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance) of the IPC and various sections of the Arms Act.
Under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), an accused should be informed of the offence under which he is charged. The basic purpose of the charge is to let them know of the offence that they are charged with so that they can prepare defence.