The Delhi High Court has denied bail to a murder accused in the Delhi violence case, who was allegedly involved in 8 other cases related to the February 2020 violence. The bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait observed that the allegations levelled were grave, and the petitioner’s involvement in the riots was alleged by witnesses and if released on bail, he could threaten them.
The petitioner, Pankaj Sharma, has been in judicial custody since March 2020 and challenged the trial court order that rejected his bail, on the ground that the trial court ignored material facts and evidence on record. The case was of murder of one Hashim Ali who was found in Pulia area, and upon his post mortem it was revealed that death was caused due to blunt force impact on head and abdomen.
The counsel for the petitioner submitted that the charge sheet filed before the trial court does not reflect ‘grave suspicion’ qua involvement of petitioner in the offence in question, and he has been arrested on an unfounded presumption that he was a part of unlawful assembly. The counsel further submitted that the eye witness statement cannot be relied upon as they were planted.
The prosecution submitted that during investigation, the police found that there was a group on Whatsapp called “Kattar Hindu Ekta” which was created on February 25, 2020 which contained various incriminating messages from the members of the group, especially one Lokesh Solanki who revealed names of other members of the group who were actively involved in the riots, which included the petitioner. He further disclosed that he along with his other associates, including the petitioner, had killed nine persons of other community, including Hashim Ali and his elder brother Aamir Khan, and threw their bodies in the gutter and burnt their vehicles as well.
The prosecution argued that the petitioner is amongst the conspirators who designed the killing of persons belonging to other community, and as per his call records, he was found at the crime spot at the time of the incident. He further stated that the petitioner’s role in the whatsapp group “Kattar Hindu Ekta” is still under scrutiny and if released on bail, he could threaten the witnesses.
The court, with respect to the contention that the witnesses are planted, refused to delve into it, and stated that credibility of witnesses is a matter of trial. The court observed that even if there is no CCTV footage against the petitioner, his call records show his presence at the crime scene and his being part of the “Kattar Hindu Ekta” group as well as statements of witnesses. The court thus refused to take a lenient view of the petitioner as the allegations levelled against him were grave.
“In the alleged incident a young boy of 19 years has lost his life. As per post mortem report, 42 grievous injuries were found on the person of the deceased which proved fatal for him. The case is pending at the stage of framing of charge. Besides present case, petitioner is implicated in eight other FIR cases and the apprehension expressed by prosecution that if released on bail, petitioner may threaten or influence the witnesses, is not misplaced,” the court observed.
Based on these observations, the court refused to grant bail to the petitioner, and dismissed the petition while making it clear that any observation made herein shall not influence the trial.
The order may be read here:
Courtesy: Sabrang India