Could have been bystander: Court clears man in 1993 riots case | India News

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MUMBAI: Twenty-eight years after a now-62-year-old man was accused of being part of a mob of around 400 who were hurling stones, soda bottles and fire balls at each other during communal riots in the city, a sessions court acquitted him after observing that even if it’s assumed that he was on the spot, it is possible that he was just an innocent bystander.
The court found that except for the formal witnesses — two cops part of the probe and a panch — who deposed about seizure of articles from the spot, there was nothing to indicate the complicity of the accused, Rashid Khan.
“There is no independent witness to identify the accused. True that the incident is of 1993 and after such a long delay, witnesses cannot be found so as to identify the accused. It is true that the mob consisted of 300 to 400 people and it is difficult to ascertain who actively participated in vandalising the property. No specific act is attributed to the accused,” the court said.
The court said the benefit of doubt goes in Khan’s favour. “There is nothing on record to suggest that the accused actively participated in the unlawful assembly,” the court said.
Khan was untraceable for decades and finally arrested in December 2020. He pleaded ‘not guilty’ before the court.
During cross-examination, a cop who was part of the patrolling duty, denied the suggestion that due to police firing to disperse the mob, one person was injured and to hush up the matter a false case was registered.
The prosecution’s case was that on January 12, 1993, around 3.15am, police on npatrol duty saw a mob of 300 to 400 people engaged in throwing stones and hurling soda bottles at each other. The prosecution said to control the mob, cops used lathis but they (the mob) became more aggressive. Finally, police fired in the air. The prosecution said in the rush, one person got shot and he died subsequently.

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