Tahir Hussain to stand trial

IB Officer Ankit Sharma murder case: Court takes cognizance of charges

It is the first step in getting justice for Ankit Sharma who was killed in Delhi riots in February when the anti-CAA protests got out of hand of the law and order authorities. Ankit, who was an Intelligence Bureau officer was dragged and killed by a mob and his body was thrown into a nearby gutter. Tahir Hussain and 9 others were accused of his murder.

It was reported and not challenged by anyone at the time that on February 25, Ankit had just come home from work and before he could have refreshed himself to sit down to have a cup of tea with his family (his mother was calling him to do that), he heard some noise in his street and was called to and volunteered to go and help people in need in his street. Little did he know – that would become his chakravyuh and he would never return.

Media widely reported at the time and alleged that Aam Aadmi Party Councillor Tahir Hussain had been instrumental in the mob killing. He was not only allegedly provoking violence, he had collected bags full of pelting stones and boxes of petrol bombs at his multi storey residence which was shown by many TV cameras at the time. He had also allegedly given shelter to miscreants and later, going in to hiding feigned innocence.

Yesterday, a Delhi court judge took cognizance of the police chargesheet and committed the former AAP councillor Tahir Hussain and nine other people as accused in the murder of Ankit Sharma to stand trial.

Earlier, Delhi police had confirmed Tahir Hussain admitting to his role in Delhi riots during his interrogation. While being interrogated, Tahir reportedly told police:

“Khalid Saifi, along with his friend Ishrat Jahan, first started a dharna demonstration in Khureji on the lines of Shaheen Bagh. On February 4, in Abu Fazal Enclave, I met Khalid Saifi for planning the riots. It was decided to provoke people sitting on the anti-CAA strike. Khalif Saifi said that something big has to be done at the time of Donald Trump’s visit so that the government kneel. 

Delhi Police interrogation had revealed that Tahir Hussain admitted to collecting a lot of acid, petrol, diesel and stones on his roof. He had also taken his pistol from the police station for use in the violence.

“On February 24, according to our plan, I have called several people and told me how to throw stones, petrol bombs, and acid bottles from my roof. I had shifted my family to another place. On 24 February 2020, at about 1:30 pm we started throwing stones,” Tahir Hussain had told police.

Delhi Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Purshottam Pathak taking cognizance of the police chargesheet in the case has directed the accused to appear before the court through video conferencing on August 28.

The court said from the evidence before it, a prima facie case against the accused is established – for the accused to stand trial.

“On his provocation/ instigation, the Muslims turned violent on February 24 and February 25 and started burning shops and pelting stones and petrol bombs houses belonging to Hindus situated in that locality.…The uncontrolled mob turned into rioters and in process of rioting caught hold of Ankit Sharma and dragged him to Chand Bagh Pulia and attacked him using sharp and blunt objects/ weapons in a brutal manner and threw his body in the drain,” the judge said.

The judge added that the “circumstances indicated that the riot took place in a planned manner resulted from a well hatched conspiracy and it was abetted by the leader of the mob, accused Tahir Hussain.”

Indirectly referencing the TV news visuals of the time, the judge said Hussain had not only facilitated the rooftop of his house and provided logistical support to the rioters but also led the mob and that there is sufficient evidence to take cognizance against Hussain and others.

Earlier on June 3, Tahir Hussain and others were charged for murder, rioting, robbery among other sections.

BT would like to clarify that the charges against Tahir Hussain and others will have to be proved in the court by prosecution – beyond reasonable doubt. This is merely the start of trial and nothing against them has been proven at this stage to warrant any convictions.

The same judge also took cognizance of police chargesheet in the murder of Hashim Ali in which nine members of a whatsapp group named – Kattar Hindut Ekta are accused. The judge has directed all nine accused –  Lokesh Kumar Solanki, Pankaj Sharma, Sumit Chaudhary, Ankit Chuadhary, Prince, Rishabh Chaudhary, Jatin Sharma, Vivek Panchal and Himanshu Thakur – to be produced before it through video conferencing on August 28 for further hearing in the case.

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