Police chargesheet 15 for ‘conspiracy’, link Delhi riots to anti-CAA protests

Written by Mahender Singh Manral
| New Delhi |

September 17, 2020 4:40:15 am

“We also found that the main conspirators created WhatsApp chat groups…when the violence was going on, people were sent to the site to supervise,” the officer claimed.

Transcripts of WhatsApp chats, name data and 747 witnesses are among the many key components of the chargesheet filed Wednesday by the Delhi Police Special Cell towards 15 individuals in a “conspiracy” case associated to the February riots in Northeast Delhi.

The chargesheet contains the names of former Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) councillor Tahir Hussain, and Pinjra Tod’s Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal, as accused. But it doesn’t point out former JNU college students, Umar Khalid and Sharjeel Imam, who had been arrested below the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) within the case.

Khalid was arrested three days in the past and Imam final month within the case, and their names will likely be talked about within the supplementary chargesheet within the coming months, police sources mentioned. Imam was already below custody for his alleged function within the violence at Jamia Millia Islamia final December and on fees of delivering speeches deemed “seditious” throughout protests towards the CAA and NRC.

A senior police officer informed The Indian Express that the chargesheet, filed on the Karkardooma court docket, is nicely over 17,000 pages. “The operative part is 2,692 pages and the total number of pages, including annexures, about 17,500. We have 747 witnesses in the chargesheet and are relying on technical evidence, WhatsApp chats and Call Detail Records (CDRs),” the officer mentioned.

During their investigation, the police declare to have discovered that varied anti-CAA agitation websites had been created with the target to escalate the protests to the extent of riots. “We also found that the main conspirators created WhatsApp chat groups…when the violence was going on, people were sent to the site to supervise,” the officer claimed.

“We have several pieces of technical evidence, including WhatsApp chats of February 24 when the violence was happening. At that point, the key conspirators were guiding their foot soldiers in the area and were directly in touch with them. There were around 25 protest sites, and around 25 WhatsApp groups were especially created for each site. The impression was given that they were anti-CAA protest groups,” the officer claimed.

“We have identified a WhatsApp group called the ‘Delhi Protests Support Group (DPSG)’. There is a chat where an accused makes a clear reference to a plan of road block (chakka jam) and inciting violence. The strategy was to block the road, and confrontation with the law enforcement agency was the second step,” the officer claimed.

Apart from Hussain, Kalita and Narwal, these named within the chargesheet are: Khalid Saifi, Ishrat Jahan, Gulfisha, Shafa ur Rehman, Miran Haider, Safoora Jargar, Asif Iqbal Tanha, Shadab Ahmed, Taslim Ahmed, Salim Malik, Muhammad Salim Khan and Athar Khan.

Police had registered an FIR towards Umar Khalid on March 6 based mostly on info allegedly offered by an informer to Sub-Inspector Arvind Kumar of the narcotics unit of the Crime Branch. Kumar claimed within the FIR that the informer informed him that the riots had been a part of a “premeditated conspiracy” allegedly hatched by Khalid, one Danish, and two others related to completely different organisations.

The police have additionally acquired the sanction required below the UAPA to proceed within the case. “We have identified each group that had a separate role in the conspiracy. We have also identified three levels of conspirators: top-level, middle-level and the foot soldiers who were rioters. Some of the WhatsApp chats were deleted, but we recovered most of them and submitted them before the court as evidence,” the officer mentioned.

Pointing out that 53 individuals had died, 583 had been injured and claims amounting to greater than Rs 20 crore had been filed within the riots, Additional PRO (Delhi Police) Anil Mittal mentioned, “The first chargesheet has been filed at Karkardooma court.”

“The Special Cell took 195 days to complete the first phase…approximately 75 electronic devices have been seized as part of the investigation. Based upon scientific, documentary and testimonial evidence, a total number of 15 accused have now been chargesheeted out of the 21 persons arrested so far. The remaining six persons are expected to be chargesheeted in due course after collecting sufficient evidence and completing statutory and procedural requirements,” Mittal mentioned.

“Further investigation into the matter is continuing and supplementary chargesheets are likely to be filed in due course,” he mentioned.

The case was transferred from the Crime Branch to the Special Cell, which arrange a Special Investigation Team (SIT) and deputed 17 inspectors to probe varied protest websites.

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