Delhi riots: Court directs police to probe role of lawyer accused of forging documents

By: |
August 22, 2020 10:43 PM

Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav said it would be appropriate if the matter was investigated by the Crime Branch or the Special Cell and requested the Commissioner of Delhi police to look into it and pass appropriate directions.

Communal clashes had broken out in northeast Delhi on February 24. (IE)

After the Delhi police alleged that a lawyer had forged documents and instigated a man to depose falsely in a case related to the communal violence in north-east Delhi in February this year, a city court on Saturday directed it to further investigate the matter. The police made the charge against lawyer Mehmood Pracha, who has been appearing for some of the accused and complainants in the riots cases, in its report before the court.

Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav said it would be appropriate if the matter was investigated by the Crime Branch or the Special Cell and requested the Commissioner of Delhi police to look into it and pass appropriate directions.

During the hearing, the police informed the court through its report that complainant Irshad Ali had appeared before the Additional Commissioner of Police (Gokulpuri) on August 12. Ali’s shop in Dayalpur area was allegedly looted and set on fire by the rioters during the communal violence in February.

“During the investigation, he (Ali) was enquired about the names of Deepak, Navneeet and Mintu, as mentioned in his complaint. He said that he knows them by their names and does not know anything about them personally. He also stated that he does not identify the accused persons in the video,” the report said. It further stated that Ali had alleged that “one lawyer namely Mehmood Pracha called him in his office and told him that he has a complainant of a similar incident and there was also an eyewitness, who witnessed the whole incident as he was present there on February 24 and February 25.”

“Advocate Mehmood Pracha also said that if the complaint of Sharif is attached with your complaint, it will make your case stronger and you will get an eyewitness of the incident regarding looting your shop. It is pertinent to mention here that the present complainant Irshad Ali does not know or met eyewitness Sharif ever,” the report alleged. It further claimed that during the investigation, the statement of Dilshad, Ali’s brother, was recorded, in which he had alleged that on February 24, he was at his home with his brother and when he got a call that his shop had been looted, both of them reached the shop and it had been looted.

“They had not seen anybody looting or burning their shop. After that, they both returned to their home. Later on, they got a call that their shop had been set on fire. Regarding the video shown to him by the complainant, he stated that he did not recognize anyone in the video and no one in the video was from the local vicinity,” it alleged.

It further claimed that during the investigation, the statement of Shakil, brother of one of the accused Gulfam, was also recorded, in which he had stated that he does not know anyone named Ali.

During the course of investigation, it was revealed that the eyewitness was already wanted in another case related to the February riots and was still absconding, the report alleged. It further alleged that the affidavit of Ali, which was submitted before the court, was attested by a counsel who had expired in 2017.  His wife had stated that after his death she had no knowledge of any document attested by the stamp of her husband’s name/notary public, it claimed.

“The above sequence of events clearly indicates and raises a strong suspicion that how a person who expired way back in 2017 can attest a document in July 2020,” the report alleged.

The court said in its order, “Since the preliminary enquiry in the matter has been conducted on the directions of local DCP, that is DCP (North-East) and it has been conducted by ACP (Gokapuri) and SHO, PS Dayalpur, it will be appropriate if the matter is investigated by an independent agency like Crime Branch or Special Cell.

“Accordingly, a copy of this order be sent to the Commissioner, Delhi Police with a request to look into the matter and pass appropriate directions therein,” it said.

The counsel for accused Gulfam expressed shock over the report and withdrew from the case, saying that he morally felt he should not represent the accused in the matter as there has been alleged forgery of documents which were submitted in the court as genuine and in connivance with members of the Bar.

Another counsel for accused Arshad Qayyum and Mohd Abid also said that apparently forgery in the matter has taken place and it needed to be unearthed as to who all were responsible for forging the “affidavit” of the complainant. Communal clashes had broken out in northeast Delhi on February 24 after violence between citizenship law supporters and protesters spiralled out of control leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured.

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