A Delhi court on Friday, 6 May, ordered framing of charges of rioting and criminal conspiracy against former Aam Aadmi Party leader Tahir Hussain and 5 other accused in the 2020 Northeast Delhi riots case.
"Tahir Hussain was not only a mere conspirator but an active rioter also. He was not a mute spectator but was taking active part in the riots and instigation the other members of the unlawful assembly to teach lesson to the persons belonging to the other community," Additional Sessions Judge Virender Bhat observed in his order.
The court further noted that there was an understanding between all of the accused to attack the property of the Hindu community from the building belonging to Hussain, and that preparations had been made to this purpose.
The court directed that in addition to IPC Section 120 (criminal conspiracy), charges under Sections 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (member of unlawful assembly), 427 (mischief causing damage), 435 (mischief causing fire), 436 (mischief by fire with intent to destroy house etc), and 395 (dacoity) be framed.
Charges have been framed against five others – Anas, Javed, Firoz, Gulfam, and Shoaib Alam – in addition to Hussain.
What Is the Case?
The six men are accused of carrying out riots in Khajuri Khas area on 25 February 2020, wherein the unlawful assembly, allegedly led by Tahir Hussain, had allegedly vandalised, looted, and set ablaze a godown owned by a Hindu man.
The defence counsel had argued that no incriminating material was retrieved from Hussain's building.
However, the court noted in its order:
"It was found during the course of the investigation that the above building of accused Tahir Hussain had been used by the rioters/miscreants including the accused herein for brick bating, stone pelting, pelting of petrol bombs, acid bombs etc."
The defence also drew a parallel with the “larger conspiracy” case stemming from FIR 59/2020 in connection with the Delhi riots, and argued that there was no need to invoke Section 120B (criminal conspiracy) in the present case.
The court, however, pointed out that the two alleged conspiracies were not the same, as the object of the present case was the destruction of properties of Hindus in the Khajuri Khas area.
AAP councillor Tahir Hussain had been suspended from the primary membership of his party in February 2020 after he was charged with murder and arson in connection with the death of Ankit Sharma, an Intelligence Bureau (IB) employee found dead in one of the areas in northeast Delhi most affected by violence over citizenship law protests.
Meanwhile, Hussain was acquitted in a 2015 defacement case in April this year, with the court stating that there was "not even an iota of evidence" that he had installed a party hoarding on an electric pole.