Delhi court grants bail to Umar Khalid in riots case
A Delhi court on Thursday granted bail to activist Umar Khalid in connection with last year's riots in Northeast Delhi.
The court said that Khalid cannot be kept behind bars on the basis of "sketchy material," noting that charge-sheeting him on "such an insignificant material" was unwarranted.
Khalid was arrested in connection with the riots in Khajuri Khas in February 2020.
'Khalid cannot be made to incarcerate in jail for infinity'
Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav observed that the trial in the matter will likely take a long time.
He said that Khalid—who was arrested in the case on October 1, 2020—"cannot be made to incarcerate in jail for infinity merely on account of the fact that other persons who were part of the riotous mob have to be identified and arrested in the matter."
Khalid gets bail on personal bond of Rs. 20,000
The court granted Khalid bail on a personal bond in the sum of Rs. 20,000 with one surety of the like amount.
He has been asked to appear before the court on every date of hearing and to share his mobile number with Khajuri Khas SHO upon release from jail.
Bail conditions state that Khalid shall not tamper with evidence or influence any witness.
Khalid must install Aarogya Setu app: Court
Khalid must also install the Aarogya Setu app on his phone upon his release. However, the 33-year-old activist is to remain incarcerated as he is yet to be granted bail in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act case related to the Delhi riots.
Conspiracy behind riot needs to be unearthed: Prosecution
It was the prosecution's case that an investigation was underway and other persons who were part of the "riotous mob" were yet to be identified.
The "conspiracy angle" behind such a large-scale riot needed to be unearthed, the prosecution argued.
Notably, Khalid had been roped in based on his own disclosure statement and the disclosure statements of co-accused Khalid Saifi and Tahir Hussain.
Khalid says he was 'falsely implicated to muzzle dissent'
Khalid, represented by senior advocate Trideep Pais, sought bail on grounds of parity with Saifi.
It was also argued that he was falsely implicated in the matter by the probing agency on account of "political vendetta to muzzle the dissent."
He was not present at the scene of the crime on the date of the incident, it was submitted.
'Criminal conspiracy' offense subject matter in another case: Defense
There was no material on record to show that any meeting took place between Khalid and Hussain, it was argued. The "criminal conspiracy" offense was already a subject matter of another FIR (UAPA case), and Khalid could not be prosecuted for the same offense twice.
Witness statement does not appeal to senses: Court
The court noted that witness Rahul Kasana is also a witness in another case, where he didn't "utter a single word against the applicant qua 'criminal conspiracy' and now all of a sudden, he...blew the trumpet of 'criminal conspiracy' against the applicant."
The court said this "does not appeal to the senses" adding that there was no evidence linking Khalid to the alleged crime.
'Fail to understand how lofty conspiracy claim can be inferred'
The court said the "sole evidence of this so-called conspiracy" is the statement of the witness alleging that he saw Hussain, Khalid, and Saifi going into the same building at Shaheen Bagh on January 8, 2020.
"I fail to understand from the aforesaid statement how a lofty claim of conspiracy can be inferred," the court went on to add.
53 died, 200 injured in Northeast Delhi riots
Violence had broken out in Northeast Delhi on February 24, 2020, as groups protesting against and in favor of the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act clashed.
At least 53 people died and 200 were injured. Homes, religious places, vehicles, etc., were vandalized and torched as the riots raged on for days.
Over 250 charge-sheets have been filed in which 1,153 accused have been charge-sheeted.