Conspiracy involving Tahir Hussain, Umar Khalid: What Delhi riots chargesheets claim

Hazrat Nizamuddin Markaz figures in the chargesheet

A Delhi Police head constable was killed and a deputy commissioner of police injured as clashes over the CAA broke out again in northeast Delhi's Jaffrabad and Maujpur | Aayush Goel A Delhi Police head constable was killed and a deputy commissioner of police injured as clashes over the CAA broke out again in northeast Delhi's Jaffrabad and Maujpur | Aayush Goel

The Delhi police, filing two chargesheets in the northeast Delhi riots, has levelled charges of "conspiracy" in the incident, with emphasis on the murder of IB staffer Ankit Sharma, and citing the involvement of both JNU student leader Umar Khalid and AAP councillor Tahir Hussain. Allegedly, Hussain spent around Rs 1.10 crore to fund the anti-CAA protests and the subsequent communal violence, the Crime Branch of the Delhi Police said in a 1,030-page chargesheet. Hussain's lawyer cited the allegations as "manipulated facts" and attempts to "falsely implicate" the councillor. Aam Aadmi Party had suspended Hussain after the Delhi police levelled charges against him for the violence.

Over 200 people were injured in the communal clashes that broke out in northeast Delhi in February, after violence between anti- and pro-CAA groups spiralled out of control. Frenzied mobs torched houses, shops, vehicles, a petrol pump and pelted stones at local residents and police personnel. Jaffrabad, Maujpur, Babarpur, Yamuna Vihar, Bhajanpura, Chand Bagh, Shiv Vihar were among the areas mainly affected by the riots.

The chargesheet stated that Hussain allegedly transferred around Rs 1.10 crore from the accounts of companies owned by him to alleged shell companies. He received the amount in cash in the second week of January, 2020 through a chain of transactions and thereafter, distributed the money to anti-CAA protestors. Police also obtained the bank details of two companies owned by Hussain—Show Effect Advertising Pvt Ltd and Essence Cellcom Pvt Ltd—from HDFC Bank.

The details were analysed to verify the disclosure made by Hussain regarding organising and distributing cash for anti-CAA protests and the riots, it said. According to the chargesheet, the bank account details showed six suspicious transactions from Essence Cellcom Pvt Ltd. amounting to Rs 92 lakhs to two other accounts. "His [Hussain's] another company Show Effect Advertising Pvt Ltd showed a transfer of Rs 20 lakh on January 8... All these chain of transactions are being investigated," it said.

Hazarat Nizamuddin Markaz figures in the chargesheet

The Hazrat Nizamuddin Markaz, which had hogged the limelight after the Tablighi Jamaat conference in the time of coronavirus, also found mention in the chargesheet. 

Faisal Farooque, owner of Rajdhani School in Shiv Vihar locality was among the 18 arrested, for alleged involvement in burning and damaging the property of adjacent DRP Convent School. Apart from DRP Convent School, a sweet shop was also set on fire and one of its employees, Dilbar Negi, was trapped inside and his charred dead body was found later, police said.

The Crime Branch of Delhi police filed the chargesheet against Farooque and others for allegedly conspiring with Popular Front of India, Pinjra Tod group, Jamia Coordination Committee and Hazrat Nizamuddin Markaz for creating riots in and around his school. Police alleged that "the rioters had camped inside and fired bullets from the terrace of Rajdhani School. They also threw petrol bombs, acid, bricks, stones and other missiles using an improvised large iron catapult, specially installed for the purpose, from the terrace of Rajdhani School."

What the chargesheet claims about Tahir Hussain's involvement

The chargesheet claimed that Hussain, in the intervening night of February 24-25, had removed his family and shifted them to his parental house at Mustafabad, but he kept staying there so that he could keep an eye on the whole situation and stand with the Muslims against the Hindus on the next day.

The chargesheet alleged that Hussain was leading the mob from his house and also from a masjid near Chand Bagh Pulia on February 24 and 25 and gave it a communal colour. He provoked and instigated the Muslims against Hindus saying that Hindu people have killed a number of Muslims and has set fire in their shops at Sherpur Chowk and to let no Hindu go scot free. On his provocation/ instigation, the Muslims turned violent and volatile on February 24 and 25, and started burning the shops and pelting stones and petrol bombs on Hindus people and also targeted their houses, according to the allegations.

The chargesheet further said that photos and videos obtained from two separate DVDs were analysed and it showed the destruction done by rioters at the scene of the crime. It also showed that Hussain's house was left untouched by the rioters which indicates that the accused was leading and instigating the mob, the chargesheet claimed.

"Recovery of crates containing glass bottles having some liquid filled in them and their necks stuffed with pieces of cloth, which were used/ to be used as molotov cocktails, large number of bricks and stone pieces and three catapults from the house of accused Tahir Hussain further point towards the conspiracy and the extent of preparation for causing riots in the area," it said.

Chargesheet names Umar Khalid

According to the chargesheet, during interrogation, Hussain admitted his involvement in the riots and also confessed that he was present on the terrace of his house as violence broke out in the area around his house. It claimed that Hussain was in touch with other anti-CAA protestors and had met Khalid Saifi of United Against Hate and JNU student leader Umar Khalid at the Shaheen Bagh protest site on January 8, it said.

Saifi told Hussain to be prepared for "something big" at the time of the visit of US President Donald Trump and also said that he and other PFI members will help him financially. Saifi gave him some money for the preparations, the chargesheet said. Hussain was connected to Saifi and Khalid who were part of a larger group of people responsible for organising riots and protests in Delhi, the chargesheet said.

Speaking to The Wire, Khalid claimed there was not an "iota of truth" in any of the allegations. 

'Conspiracy' behind the killing of IB staffer Ankit Sharma

The chargesheet claimed "conspiracy" in the murder of Ankit Sharma, an Intelligence Bureau (IB) officer whose body was found in a drain near Chand Bagh area in northeast Delhi. An autopsy had revealed that there were 51 sharp injuries on his body, the charge sheet said adding that the way Sharma was killed by the cold blooded rioters has shaken the social fabric of the society and instilled a fear in the minds of the residents of the area.

They claimed that Ankit Sharma, who was a familiar face in the area, was specifically targeted by a mob led by Hussain. The chargesheet stated that during investigation, witnesses have stated that on February 25, Sharma had moved ahead from the crowd of Hindu people standing a few distance away from Hussain's house to pacify the people of both sides.

The rioters numbered in 20-25, equipped with stones, rod, lathi, danda, knife etc came from the side of Chand Bagh Pulia, caught hold of him on the instigation of Hussain from the political leader's house and dragged him and beating him to death by inflicting sharp and blunt injuries and after killing him, threw his dead body in the drain, it said.

In the 50-page charge sheet, Hussain has been named as one of the main accused along with nine others—Anas, Firoj, Javed, Gulfam, Shoaib Alam, Salman, Nazeem, Kasim, Sameer Khan for the murder of Sharma. Two of the accused persons—Sabir and Musa—are absconding at present.

Hussain's lawyer pushes back

Advocate Javed Ali, counsel for Hussain, claimed that the politician was roped into a political conspiracy by his rivals, who have managed to pin the blame of the unfortunate events of February 24 on him. He further said that Hussain was not the accused, but the victim here.

"No recovery has been affected from him during the police custody or later on. However, certain things have been planted and manipulated against him. Hussain himself is a victim rather than an accused as is being allegedly portrayed by the police who have by far produced no single piece of evidence to prove that he had a role to play in the alleged crime against him except the oral allegations," said the advocate.

The lawyer claimed that the FIR in which Hussain was booked was general and omnibus in nature and is against a violent mob of persons, whereas no mention of names of perpetrators of alleged violence has been made in it.

"It merely describes the incident of riots taking place near the house of the applicant and no other details. Hussain has so far fully and, in all sincerity, cooperated with the police wit their investigation. However, so many of the answers that he had given to the questions posed to him by the police were either omitted or twisted/manipulated by the police itself in order to suit their version for falsely implicating the applicant in the present case," he alleged.

-Inputs from PTI