Seven acquitted of rioting during 1997 MCD poll

New Delhi, Dec 29 (IANS) A court here has acquitted seven people accused of unlawful assembly, rioting and tearing ballot papers during the 1997 Municipal Corporation of Delhi election.

Metropolitan Magistrate Sheetal Chaudhary Pradhan acquitted Asif Namberdar, Asif Chaudhary, Yusuf, Naseem, Soech Danish, Owaish Mohammad Khan and Mohamad Jahangir of the offences under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and under various provisions of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act.
They were facing trial for disrupting the MCD election held Dec 23, 1997. Ram Kumar Dahiya, a presiding officer at a polling station in Okhla Primary School in south Delhi at that time, lodged a complaint that some persons reached the booth, snatched and tore ballot papers besides destroying property. The court observed that the complainant had failed to identify them during trial.
The court observed that the testimony of all the prosecution witnesses when deeply examined does not inspire confidence as none of the witnesses have corroborated the story of prosecution in substance or in periphery.
“The prosecution has miserably failed to substantiate the offence alleged against the accused persons since the prima facie requirement of establishing the identity of the accused persons had been completely derailed,” the court said in a recently delivered order.
The court observed that the witnesses have said that the same persons were behind the rioting at various polling booths including the Okhla primary school and Jamia Millia Islamia, which is not possible.
“The same shows it to be highly improbable to my mind since the alleged accused persons could not have been present, at the same time in different places together to commit the offence stated to be rioting,” it said.