The Delhi High Court on Monday asked a trial court to decide, within a month, a fresh bail plea by 2020 riots accused Shahrukh Pathan in a case related to rioting and causing injuries to police personnel including Rohit Shukla by an armed mob during the violence.
Appearing for Pathan, advocate Khalid Akhtar said that the fresh bail plea was necessitated as there was a change in circumstances. The court was informed that certain important prosecution witnesses were examined after Pathan’s earlier bail application was dismissed. The accused’s pending bail application was sought to be withdrawn from the high court.
A bench of Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma was informed by Akhtar that his bail plea was pending before the high court since January 2022 and urged the high court to direct the trial court to hear and expeditiously decide Pathan’s bail petition.
The high court allowed the accused to withdraw the plea and said: “This court requests the trial court to dispose of the bail application within one month.”
Meanwhile, the prosecutor, opposing the bail plea, said: “The conduct (in jail) of the accused is crystal clear. A mobile phone was recovered from his cell. He attacked the assistant superintendent of the jail. He absconded himself after the crime and was later arrested on March 3, 2020.”
A trial court had dismissed Pathan’s bail in December 2021, observing that the CCTV footage of a nearby camera showed his presence in the riotous mob. Charges have already been framed against Pathan in the matter, and he had moved the high court in January last year seeking bail.
Earlier, the high court was informed by Pathan that there is no role attributed to him and that the “entire case is a farce”. Even though there are four more accused in the case, the petitioner is the only one not named in the FIR or identified by anyone and yet he is behind bars whereas others have been released on bail, Pathan’s counsel had told the court.
“The bail application and arguments on the charges were heard together. Bail was rejected on the ground that he (Pathan) is accused in another case, that he could be a flight risk, and that there were contradictions in his statements which are the subject matter of trial. There are a total of five accused persons in the FIR.
I am the only person who is neither named nor identified while all others were named and identified. Their addresses were also disclosed by the victim and yet all of them have been granted bail and I am the only one behind bars. This entire case is a farce,” Akhtar had submitted on behalf of his client.
Counsel had also apprised the court that the bail application has been pending for 15 months now and that his client is lodged in jail for three years and one month. “No role is attributed to me. It is not their case that I shot the victim. Examination of the main victim is complete. That is full of contradiction. There is nothing,” he had submitted.
Justice Sharma had then directed the special public prosecutor for Delhi Police to file a chart indicating the role of the accused persons, including Pathan, and the evidence attributed against them.
Earlier in February, Pathan had informed the high court that the conclusion of the trial has been delayed for a long and that for more than a year now, only two witnesses have been examined out of 40.
Akhtar had submitted: “There is a huge delay in the conclusion of the trial. Only two witnesses have been examined so far out of about 40. I have been attacked in jail too.” Simultaneously, Pathan is facing charges in another case in connection with pointing a pistol at a policeman.
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