On Wednesday, the Delhi High Court refused to grant bail to Mohammed Shahrukh aka Shahrukh Pathan who had opened fire at Delhi Police on February 24 this year, during the riots that had broken out in the national capital under the pretext of peaceful protests against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
As per reports, after Justice Suresh Kumar turned down his bail, Shahrukh’s counsel Asghar Khan withdrew the plea.
The accused had opened 8 rounds of bullets on the Delhi Police on February 24, the day US President Donald Trump was visiting India. While initial reports had suggested that Mohammad Shahrukh was arrested on February 25, Delhi Police later clarified that he had escaped and was absconding since. He was finally arrested on March 3 from the Shamli district in Uttar Pradesh and has since been languishing in prison.
The police had registered a case against him under Sections 147, 148, 149, 283, 186, 188, 353, 332, 323, 307,505, 120B, 34of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 27 of Arms Act, and Sections 3 and 4 of Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act (PDPP) Act. The cops had also informed that the gun of the 23-year-old accused was recovered from his house. Reportedly, he had left the pistol at his home and fled the city after the incident. A 350-page charge sheet was filed against Shahrukh in Karkardooma Court on May 1 in connection to the riots that led to 53 deaths.
Arguments made by the Defence and the Prosecutor
Asghar, appearing for Shahrukh, had pleaded that the accused was in judicial custody for 113 days and had clear ‘antecedents’. He argued that Shahrukh did not injure anyone during the incident and that the First Information Report (FIR) was not registered on the basis of the information provided by the complainant. “He’s the victim of the circumstances”, the counsel claimed. Asghar further sought for the accused’s bail on humanitarian grounds in line with that of Safoora Zargar.
The petition was filed challenging the decision of the trial court which denied him bail on June 9. Additional Public Prosecutor Amit Chadha, however, opposed the bail and emphasised that CCTV footage clearly showed him firing his pistol. He added that ample evidence existed to highlight what happened in the National capital during the communal riots. Delhi Police had also opposed his bail on the ground that his identity has been testified by witnesses.
Observations made by the Judge
“You were trying to become a hero and lead the mob. A gun was purchased by you with more than 20 live cartridges from the person who is absconding. You became a hero and your intention was to be one. I am not inclined to entertain this”, Justice Kumar was quoted as saying. Asghar had argued that Shahrukh had to take care of his ailing father but the Court refused to entertain the argument and remarked that he should have thought about the same, prior to brandishing his gun. “While committing the offence, you forget everyone and now you are thinking about your aged and ailing parents,” the learned Judge noted.
The Delhi High court had earlier sought a response from the police on the bail petition. Reportedly, Justice Prateek Jalan had ordered the Investigation officer to verify the medical records of the accused’s father and file a status report. Earlier, the trial court had dismissed his petition highlighting that the right to protest against government policies did not imply disrupting public order.