High Court Seeks Clarification from Delhi Police On Whether Investigation Concluded in Delhi Riots 2020 Case

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The court was hearing an appeal filed by Khalid Saifi in the 2020 Delhi Riots case, challenging the Trial Court's decision to deny him bail

The Delhi High Court on Thursday directed the Delhi Police to provide clarity on whether the investigation in the 2020 Delhi riots conspiracy case is concluded and whether additional chargesheets are forthcoming.

The division bench of Justices Suresh Kumar Kait and Manoj Jain directed Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) Amit Prasad to elucidate the situation during the next hearing scheduled for March 4.

Justice Kait said, "You will make the statement, and we will record it. You will tell us whether the fifth supplementary chargesheet is going to be filed or not."

Court's directions came while considering a bail plea filed by Khalid Saifi, the founder of United Against Hate (UAH), who is among the accused in the Delhi riots conspiracy case. As of now, five chargesheets have been submitted in connection with the case.

During the hearing today, Senior Advocate Rebecca John represented Saifi, while SPP Prasad represented the Delhi Police.

Following the conclusion of their arguments, court adjourned the matter to March 4 for further clarifications. It also granted the parties the opportunity to submit the judgments they intend to rely on in support of their arguments.

On February 6, the bench expressed concerns regarding the protracted arguments presented by the prosecution in the bail plea hearing of Khalid Saifi. It also expressed its dissatisfaction with the seemingly endless arguments put forth by the prosecution.

Emphasizing that the court is tasked with adjudicating bail pleas and not appeals against convictions or acquittals, the bench underscored the necessity for succinct arguments.

During the last hearing, Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad referred to WhatsApp chats and other details from the chargesheet to underscore the alleged involvement of various accused individuals in the purported riot conspiracy.

However, the bench indicated its reluctance to entertain prolonged discussions.

As the prosecution delved into the content of WhatsApp chats purportedly linked to the riots, the court had urged the prosecution to present clear evidence establishing a direct link to violence.

In an oral observation, the bench had remarked, "One can understand you need one hour, a quarter of an hour. But we cannot grant unlimited time. Show us what the conspiracy is and what the person’s role is. Summarize your arguments. We are not hearing appeals but only bail… We are not going to read 7,000 pages."

Furthermore, the bench had  emphasized the need for the prosecution to present compelling evidence against Saifi, stating, "We are not looking for a story. Show us the material, point out his role, and we will consider... If there is no case with you, we can say no case. We can grant bail. Give us material against him."

Highlighting the importance of expeditious resolution, the bench had reiterated that the court cannot prolong the hearing indefinitely, stating, "We need to see the matter on merit... We cannot hear it for days."

Trial Court Order

Earlier, the Trial Court's Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat dismissed Saifi's bail plea, stating that the allegations against him seemed prima facie true. 

Senior Advocate Rebecca John had argued that Khalid Saifi was falsely implicated and that the entire case of the prosecution remained unsubstantiated and devoid of evidence. She had submitted that the prosecution relied on a WhatsApp Group called "DPSG." However, Khalid Saifi's participation in the said group was only peripheral and could not be used as evidence of any criminal conspiracy. 

SPP Amit Prasad had submitted that Khalid Saifi was a member of the WhatsApp group DPSG, CAB Team, and United Against Hate (UAH) Okhla. He had also alleged that Khalid attended a meeting in Jangpura, Delhi, which was also attended by Umar Khalid, Sharjeel Imam, Meeran Haider, and others. 

Allegedly, Khalid Saifi also attended the meeting on December 26, 2019, at Lodhi Colony, after which DPSG was created on December 28, 2019. 

Case Title: Abdul Khalid Saifi @ Khalid v. State