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Delhi HC grants bail to 5 people accused of murdering head constable Ratan Lal during anti-Hindu riots

Delhi Police had last year filed a charge sheet in connection with the killing of head constable Ratan Lal during the violence that swept northeast Delhi in February that year.

The Delhi High Court on Friday granted bail to 5 people accused in connection with a case pertaining to the murder of head constable Ratan Lal and injuries caused to a DCP during the anti-CAA riots that convulsed the national capital in February 2020.

The high court gave the order on 5 of the 11 pleas filed in the case. The order on pleas filed by 6 other accused will be pronounced sometime next week.

The order was reserved by Justice Subramanium Prasad after hearing detailed arguments proffered by advocates representing the accused and Additional Solicitor General (ASG) SV Raju and Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad appearing for Delhi police. Citing a large number of accused in the case and the likelihood of different punishments they would get as per their role, Justice Prasad wondered if it would be wise to curtail their liberty till the completion of the trial and decided to grant bail to the accused.

Delhi Police in its charge sheet said Ratan Lal’s murder was part of a deeper conspiracy

Delhi Police had last year filed a charge sheet in connection with the killing of head constable Ratan Lal during the violence that swept northeast Delhi in February that year. The police, in its charge sheet, had stated that the murder of Ratan Lal was a part of a deeper conspiracy to gin up communal riots across the national capital.

The Special Investigation Team of Delhi Police has filed a 1,100-page charge sheet in the murder of Ratan Lal and deadly attacks by rioters on IPS Amit Sharma and IPS Anuj Kumar. At least 17 accused were named on the charge sheet. There were about 4 to 5 key conspirators in this whole case, which includes Salim Khan, Salim Munna and Shadab. The police stated that the riots were engineered in Delhi through a conspiracy to malign the image of the country.

Earlier, Constable Ratan Lal was murdered on February 24 2020 when he was shot at by rioters while patrolling along with his seniors. The police had alleged in the charge sheet that a group of 45 people held a meeting at the basement of a house on February 22, where the conspiracy of the riot was conceived. On February 23, after the conspiracy was hatched, rioters asked senior citizens and children to stay indoors as they ran riot on the streets, indulging in vandalism.

A day later, on February 24, rioters and vandals again hit the streets, damaging public properties, setting vehicles on fire and causing bloodshed. Around 1 PM in the Chand Bagh area, patrolling party in Chand Bagh was vastly outnumbered by a huge crowd of rioters. Senior police officials tried to placate the riotous mob but the crowd turned violent and attacked the police. Head constable Ratan Lal was shot dead by the rioters. Amit Sharma, Anuj Kumar and several policemen received serious injuries, the charge-sheet said.

Local Court pulls up Delhi Police for “callous” probe

Earlier on Thursday, a court in the national capital pulled up the Delhi Police for its unsatisfactory and “callous” probe into the Delhi anti-CAA riots, noting that it “will surely torment the sentinels of democracy”.

The scathing remarks from the court came while discharging three accused in the case related to alleged loot and vandalism in a shop during the riots in the Chand Bagh area. One of the discharged accused was former AAP councillor Tahir Hussain’s brother Shah Alam.

“When history will look back at the worst communal riots since Partition in Delhi, the failure of the investigating agency to conduct a proper investigation by using latest scientific methods will surely torment the sentinels of democracy,” Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav said.

Coming down hard against the police, the court said a lot of time of the judiciary is consumed on cases like the present one, where the police have hardly carried out any investigation. The court witheringly noted that the case seems to have been solved merely by filing the charge sheet without any sincere efforts applied in tracing out the eyewitnesses, real accused persons and technical evidence.

“This court cannot permit such cases to meander mindlessly in the corridors of the judicial system, sweeping away precious judicial time of this court when the same is the open and shut case,” the court said.

 

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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