R-day violence: Court says police duty-bound to conduct impartial probe

A Delhi court on Friday directed the city police to conduct proper investigation into the case related to the Republic Day violence at the Red Fort, in which actor-activist Deep Sidhu is an accused, and said that the investigating officer is not supposed to collect evidences only to prove the guilt of the accused.

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Gajendra Singh Nagar passed the directions on an application filed by Sidhu seeking fair and impartial investigation in the case by the agencies. He sought to present certain evidences on record like CCTV footage, phone location and data from the car navigation system to prove his innocence.

Sidhu claimed that these evidences are not being considered by the police. “Media trial has happened, and the story woven around me is that I’m the main person. Every time the investigating agency comes and submits that while seeking my custody,” his counsel Advocate Abhishek Gupta told the court on his behalf.

On his contentions, the judge ordered, “Police officers are directed to investigate on the points as mentioned in the application made by the complainant to unearth the truth. Furthermore, appropriate action may be taken and appropriate sections may be added if the accused is trying to mislead the investigation by fabricating false evidence.”

He further said, “The IO (investigating officer) is duty bound to conduct proper investigation in the matter in fair and impartial manner. He is not supposed to collect evidences only to prove the guilt of the accused, rather he has to bring the true picture before the court. The application stands disposed of accordingly.”

It was, however, argued by the additional public prosecutor for the state that the accused cannot guide the police to conduct investigation in a particular manner. “Police are duty bound to conduct fair and impartial investigation. However, the accused cannot be allowed to divert the investigation of the police from its path,” the court said.

On January 26, protesting farmers had clashed with the police during the tractor rally against the three Central farm laws. During the clash, a section of protesters had entered the Red Fort and hoisted a religious flag. The police had arrested Sidhu on February 9 and said that he had instigated the violence and was the key conspirator.

Sidhu told the court that he was at a hotel in Murthal till 12 p.m. on the day of violence and had reached the Red Fort at 2 p.m.

“Huge crowd had already gathered at the spot before the accused reached there,” he stated in the application, adding he had asked the police to check these claims by obtaining his phone location and data from car navigation system but the “agency has chosen not to check it”.

The accused further said that the CCTV footage of the Red Fort, which is already with the investigating agency, shows that he did not participate in violence and rather helped the police in pacifying the crowd. “The accused is apprehensive that the CCTV footage and the video will also not be considered,” he said.

Sidhu is facing charges of rioting, attempt to murder, criminal conspiracy, dacoity, culpable homicide and various other sections of the Indian Penal Code. On February 23, the court had sent him to the Tihar Jail for 14 days.