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Exclusive: Inside Delhi Police Charge Sheet Against 16 RSS Accused

In this story we analyse the evidence and 16 identical disclosure statements that the accused ‘refused to sign’.

Updated
India
7 min read
In a series of stories by The Quint on the northeast Delhi riots, we bring you evidence filed by the Delhi Police against the 16 accused from Rashriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
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In the case of the murder of 48-year-old Parvez from the northeast Delhi riots, Delhi Police Crime Branch filed their charge sheet against 16 members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) primarily relying on testimonies from ten witnesses, of whom only one was an eyewitness to the crime.

The 16 accused have been charged under Section 302 (murder), 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly), 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence, giving false information to screen offender), 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 27 of the Arms Act.

Exclusive: Inside Delhi Police Charge Sheet Against 16 RSS Accused
(Infographic: Aishwarya S Iyer/The Quint)
In this story we analyse the evidence and 16 identical disclosure statements that the accused ‘refused to sign’.
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Our reportage on the northeast Delhi riots can be read here.

Parvez Alam: Shot Dead on 25 February

This case is about the death of Parvez, whose son, Sahil, is the complainant and eyewitness to his father being shot down on 25 February evening in north Ghonda area of northeast Delhi. Sahil was behind his father, on their way to the local mosque for evening prayers, he says, when after walking for a few minutes Sushil Kumar shot him.

Exclusive: Inside Delhi Police Charge Sheet Against 16 RSS Accused
(Infographic: Aishwarya S Iyer/The Quint)

Kumar is the main accused who was allegedly leading a mob and shot at Sahil's father. Parvez died an hour-and-a-half later by 8:30 pm, in GTB Hospital, while riots continued to rage across various areas of northeast Delhi.

The case was originally filed under Jafrabad police station and transferred to the Crime Branch SIT on 4 March. 22 accused were rounded up in a day-long interrogation on 9 April and 16 men were arrested, based on Sahil's complaint where he named several accused. All 16 who were arrested are from the RSS, The Quint confirmed. Not only by talking to the relatives of those arrested but also a three-page statement by an RSS functionary confirmed it. The statement can be read here.

Exclusive: Inside Delhi Police Charge Sheet Against 16 RSS Accused
(Infographic: Aishwarya S Iyer/The Quint)

Important Takeaways From Police Investigation

There are two aspects to the police investigation.

The first being the evidence that has been gathered in the charge sheet and the second includes 16 disclosure statements. A reading of both of these flag concerns about evidence gathered.

Exclusive: Inside Delhi Police Charge Sheet Against 16 RSS Accused
(Infographic: Aishwarya S Iyer/The Quint)

For example, a reading of the charge sheet reveals that the crux of the police investigation is the statement of ten witnesses, however each and every one of them are riddled with questions.

Of the ten, only one actually saw the accused firing a bullet but does not identify the victim as Parvez, two are witnesses only to the rioting in the area (while one identified all accused, the other only identified the main accused), and the remaining seven witnesses did not witness Parvez’s murder or any rioting.

Similarly, there are sixteen disclosure statements under the name of each accused. The concerns here are that the statements are identitical and have not been signed off by the accused. Each of the complaint wearing a ‘Refused to sign’ pen mark at the end of the two-page statement.

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Part 1: What The Charge Sheet Reveals

Now that we have briefly mentioned the concerns, let’s look at how the investigation has progressed in the case in detail.

While the initial FIR, from 25 February, only had Section 302 (murder) of the IPC as a charge against the accused it was in the course of the investigation that other sections were added.

A reading of the charge sheet reveals that statement witnesses, including three anonymous witnesses, as well as the Call Detail Records (CDRs) seem like the bulk of the police’s evidence against the accused. The police is yet to recover the weapon of offence despite “best efforts”.

1. Starting With 3 Public Witnesses

Other than Sahil's statement, the police has recorded ten other statements of which three are public witnesses whose identities have not been disclosed.

Exclusive: Inside Delhi Police Charge Sheet Against 16 RSS Accused
(Infographic: Aishwarya S Iyer/The Quint)

His statement reads: "(On 25 February) around  7 in the evening, I left home to buy some things when I saw rioters standing around street number 6. They had sticks, iron rods and weapons in their hands. Sushil Kumar was heading towards them and had something that looked like a shotgun in his hand. Along with him were Jaibir Singh, Pawan Kumar, Amit, Uttam Chand Mishra, Hari Om Mishra and Sandeep Chawla and several others. Sushil shot a bullet at a man who was standing outside the street number 9 north Ghonda Pawan Electronics shop."

The charge sheet reads that he also identified all sixteen accused – seven of them by name and the remaining by face.

There are two more public witnesses who did not see the act of shooting, but saw a mob engage in rioting on 25 February evening. 
Exclusive: Inside Delhi Police Charge Sheet Against 16 RSS Accused
(Infographic: Aishwarya S Iyer/The Quint)

2. Of Remaining 7, 6 Are Not Witnesses to Rioting or Murder

Besides the three public witnesses, all others are locals and neighbours of the area.

Rizwan, a local, named eight of the 16 accused. He, however, says that he only saw them rioting, adding that it was only later he got to know that the mob had taken a life. He is the only exception, everyone else did not witness the crime of rioting or murder.

Anish Ahmad Malik, a local, does not even name anyone he saw rioting. He says he came to the spot only around 7:15 pm after the shooting. He saw a crowd of people and only heard the names of the accused being taken by the locals.

Then there is Shahrukh Sayyad who is Sahil's neighbour and friend. As soon as Sayyad heard about Sahil's father being shot, he had rushed to the local doctor where he had heard Parvez was taken to first. He then helped move Parvez to GTB hospital with Sahil. Again he does not name anyone.

Exclusive: Inside Delhi Police Charge Sheet Against 16 RSS Accused
(Infographic: Aishwarya S Iyer/The Quint)

The remaining four witnesses – Salman Shakeel, Vakeel Ahmed, Shahidulzama Sheikh and Mohammad Naushad – did not identify any of the accused. All four are tenants of a building Sahil owns. They had come running down the stairs when they heard Sahil screaming for help. They claim to have seen Parvez's body lying upside down in a pool of blood

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Part 2: Disclosure Statements That the Accused 'Refused to Sign'

Exclusive: Inside Delhi Police Charge Sheet Against 16 RSS Accused
(Infographic: Aishwarya S Iyer/The Quint)

16 Disclosure Statements

The police has also recorded 16 disclosure statements that are identically worded. After a brief introduction about the accused, they all go on to say, "On 24 February there were slogans being raised for and against CAA in our locality". All these statements then go on to narrate the same story That on 24 February the properties of Hindus were vandalised, the Hindus got together on the same night and decided to protect themselves with weapons, sticks, rods etc. The statements say on 25 February evening they saw Parvez making an effort to restore peace between the communities. When the mob saw him, they accused Parvez of having triggered the situation, following which, consumed by anger, Sushil Kumar shot him.

Exclusive: Inside Delhi Police Charge Sheet Against 16 RSS Accused
(Infographic: Aishwarya S Iyer/The Quint)
However all of these disclosure statements have a ‘Refused to Sign’ disclaimer written on them. The Quint spoke to Delhi-based lawyers who specialise in criminal law, Satish Tamta and Abhinav Sekhri, who explained the relevance and irrelevance of disclosure statements.  

Tamta explained that disclosure statements are recorded under Section 25 of the Evidence Act. "Any disclosure made by an accused before the police officer is inadmissable in court." Speaking about the exception in the case, he says, "The only time a disclosure statement will be treated as admissible is if it leads to the discovery of evidence in trial, for example the murder weapon. Once it leads to evidence, the disclosure becomes relevant. However, again, it will only be those specific statements that lead to discovery of evidence that would be treated as admissible and not the entire statement."

Adding to this, Sekhri said, "The police, to begin with, cannot take signed statements by anyone. Even if they do take a signed statement/confession, it is largely inadmissable in court. Why I say largely is due to Section 27 of the Evidence Act, which is an exception to this rule when it comes to accused persons. It states that the statement would be treated as admissible if it leads to the discovery of facts."

Explaining the relevance of disclosure statements, Sekhri said, "While it is meant to be useful in the time of trial for the police, it is also often used by the police to oppose bail and show results to the court." Speaking about how the accused 'refused to sign', Tamta said that was not very common. "This could help the accused when they are arguing for bail against the police," he said.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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