Delhi riots: Court takes cognizance of riots chargesheet against 15

In its chargesheet, police listed 747 witnesses and of them, 51 have recorded their statements before the magistrate under Section 164 of the CrPC.

A Delhi court Thursday took cognizance of the chargesheet filed by Delhi Police under the stringent UAPA and other legal provisions against 15 persons in a “conspiracy” case related to the February riots in Northeast Delhi.

Cognizance, however, was not taken in matters related to sections of sedition and promoting enmity between different groups as sanction to prosecute is pending in the matter. Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat directed Delhi Police to supply copies of the chargesheet filed on Wednesday to the accused persons. The court will take up the matter on September 21.

The Delhi Police Special Cell told the court that while collecting evidence, it relied on call detail records and WhatsApp chats. It said WhatsApp groups were used by conspirators for “violence” in Seelampur and Jafrabad areas. “We have several pieces of technical evidence, including WhatsApp chats of February 24 when the violence was happening. At that point, key conspirators were guiding their foot soldiers in the area and were directly in touch with them. There were around 25 protest sites, and around 25 WhatsApp groups were especially created for each site. The impression was given that they were anti-CAA protest groups,” a senior police officer had claimed.

The chargesheet includes names of former AAP councillor Tahir Hussain, and Pinjra Tod’s Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal, as accused. But it does not mention former JNU students, Umar Khalid and Sharjeel Imam, who were arrested under the UAPA in the case.

The Special Cell said Tahir Hussain, Khalid Saifi and Umar Khalid had allegedly planned to carry out massive violence in the capital during US President Donald Trump’s visit.

In its chargesheet, police listed 747 witnesses and of them, 51 have recorded their statements before the magistrate under Section 164 of the CrPC. Police said it has given a chronology of conspiracy and relevant events in its chargesheet, which is likely to be taken up for consideration soon.

The court said sanction for prosecution under Section 45 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, for offences under Sections 13/16/17/18 of the said Act is on record, along with sections of murder of the IPC.

However, for offences under section 124A (sedition), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc.), 109 (abetment if act abetted is committed in consequence and where no express provision is made for its punishment), and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC, police is yet to procure the requisite sanction.

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