New Delhi, Aug 25 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Tuesday sought response from the Delhi Police over a petition filed by Khalid, a businessman and one of the accused in the riots that broke out in North-East Delhi earlier this year, challenging the order of a trial court which granted more time to the police to conclude the probe.
A single judge bench of the high court presided over by Justice Vibhu Bakhru issued the notice to the police and slated the matter for further hearing on September 1.
The plea filed by Khalid sought setting aside of the trial court’s order extending the time for completing investigation till September 17. The plea asked for issuance of consequential directions that the petitioner be released on bail in terms of Section 167(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
On March 6, the Crime Branch of Delhi Police had registered an FIR under Sections 147/148/149/120B of the Indian Penal Code, regarding criminal conspiracy to cause communal riots in Delhi from February 23 to 25. Initially, Khalid was not named in the FIR. On the same day, investigation of the case was transferred to the Special Cell.
Khalid was arrested in the present case on March 21 and has been under custody since then. On April 19, the investigating agency invoked Sections 13, 16, 17, and 18 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, in the case.
The prosecution moved an application on August 10 under Section 43D(2)(b) of the UAPA for extension of time to conclude investigation for 30 days. On August 13, the trial court allowed the application of the investigating agency seeking extension of the time period to conclude the investigation, and extend the time period by 30 days till September 17.
The plea stated that a bare perusal of the contents of the impugned order would show that the trial court did not consider and appreciate the arguments advanced on behalf of the petitioner.
“The Ld. Court had passed the impugned order in a mechanical manner as it did not discuss the submissions made on behalf on the petitioner,” the plea read.
It also said that since the copy of the application seeking extension of time for concluding investigation was not supplied to the accused persons, including Khalid, the entire proceeding was just a formality.
“The entire proceedings were reduced to an empty formality between the prosecution and the Ld. Court, with the accused being kept in the dark about the contents of the application,” the plea said.
“This is violative of the principles of natural justice and has resulted in the miscarriage of justice as the petitioner has been denied an effective opportunity to represent himself in these proceedings,” the plea added.
Khalid further said in the plea that grave prejudice has been caused to him as without supply of the copy of the application, and a copy of the prosecutor’s report, he was unaware of the grounds invoked by the prosecution seeking extension of his detention, thereby depriving him of a fair opportunity to take legitimate and legal grounds available to him.
While advocate Bhavook Chauhan appeared for the petitioner, the Delhi Police were represented by advocates Amit Mahajan and Rajat Nair.
The Ld. Court failed to appreciate that the investigating agency had failed to conduct a proper and expeditious investigation, thus resulting in the denial of the right of the petitioner under Article 21 of the Constitution for a fair and speedy investigation.
Beside Khalid, other accused in the case are Ishrat Jahan, Tahir Hussain, Gufisha Fatima, Meeran Haider, Natasha Narwal, Devangana Kalita, Asif Iqbal Tanha and Shafa ur Rehman, who are currently in judicial custody.