Three people accused of murder in a case related to the riots in Delhi last year, have been granted bail on the basis of a NDTV video. The video by NDTV’s Ravish Kumar was shown in a Prime Time programme. The defence had pointed out that the video, which the prosecution had used as key evidence, did not show any of the accused.
The Delhi High Court said, “There is no evidence whatsoever, either direct or circumstantial, or forensic against these three people who were accused of killing one Shahid during the Delhi riots in February 2020”.
The petitioners — Junaid, Chand Mohammad and Irshad — were in custody for 10 months since April 2020.
According to the police, the accused were part of the Muslim group which was standing at the rooftop of Saptarishi Building at Chand Bagh area of northeast Delhi to attack the Hindu groups, who were standing at the rooftops of other buildings, firing and pelting stones.
The police alleged that Shahid, who was also present at the top of Saptarishi building, was killed as a result of a gunshot.
The NDTV news story showed a video which captured gunfire from the rooftop of Mohan Nursing Home building, which was opposite Saptarishi building.
The bench observed that the police focused only on buildings of one side in the investigation, ignoring the firing from Mohan Nursing Home.
“As submitted by learned counsel for petitioner that in the same video relied upon by police, at exact after running of video for 10 minutes, it is seen that Ravish Kumar, NDTV primetime anchor saying that a person is firing rifle from Mohan Nursing Home Hospital and is wearing helmet, there is another person who is covering the weapon with handkerchief and later on, they can be seen in the videos as well,” said Justice Suresh Kumar Kait.
“But the investigating agency seems to have concentrated only on one side of the building, although it is an admitted case of prosecution that rioters from both sides were pelting stones at each other and were firing. Further, in this video, the firing is seen to be done only from Mohan Nursing Home and not from Saptarishi building.”
Based on the nature of entry and exit wounds and the analysis of the video, the bench observed that firing was possibly caused by a long-range shot from the Mohan Nursing Home.
The judge also observed that it was hard to believe that the petitioners will kill a person of their own community during riots.
The court said, “Neither there was any motive whatsoever either for them or for any other person allegedly present on the roof of Saptarishi building, to commit the offence, nor has the prosecution alleged any motive in the entire case. Thus, it is hard to believe that a communal riot can be used by the petitioners to cause death of the person of their own community.”
The court noted that no recovery of firearms had been made from the petitioners and charges are yet to be framed in the trial, which is likely to take substantial time. The court ordered that the petitioners, who were under custody since April 1, 2020, should be released on bail.