Khanjawala case: ‘No CCTV to show Ashutosh conspired with others’

Granting bail to one of the accused, Additional Sessions Judge Sushil Bala Dagar, said, “He is alleged to have helped in eliminating evidence of the offence and harbouring/protecting the other accused persons.”
Representative Image
Representative Image

NEW DELHI: Granting bail to accused Ashutosh Bhardwaj in the Kanjhawala hit-and-drag case, Delhi’s Rohini Court observed on Tuesday that the Delhi Police hadn’t yet been able to produce any CCTV footage or call detail records (CDRs) to suggest that Ashutosh conspired with the other accused before committing the crime.

The Delhi police on Tuesday informed the court that Section 302 (murder) of IPC has been added to the FIR.

Granting bail to one of the accused, Additional Sessions Judge Sushil Bala Dagar, said, “He is alleged to have helped in eliminating evidence of the offence and harbouring/protecting the other accused persons.”

“All these allegations seem to have come forth only after the act was allegedly committed by the co-accused persons,” the court noted further.

The court observed, “At this stage, there seems to be no document in the form of CDR / CCTV footage etc. produced by the investigating agency to show any prior meeting of minds of accused/ applicant Ashutosh with the other co-accused persons to commit the act before he received the alleged call from co-accused Ankush at 4.56 am.”

The accused has been in judicial custody since January 5 and is no longer required for custodial interrogation, the court ruled.

The court granted bail to Ashutosh on a bail bond of Rs 50,000 and a surety bond of the same amount.

The court imposed certain conditions on the accused, one of which is that he “shall not make any inducement, threat or promise to any person acquainted with the facts of the case”.

“The applicant shall not tamper with the evidence. He shall not leave the country without the permission of the court,” it directed further.

The court also directed that he shall always keep active his mobile’s location application at all times, adding that he will have to cooperate with the investigating agency as and when required.

Ashutosh had moved a second bail application through advocates Shilpesh Chaudhary and Himanshu Yadav.

Chaudhary argued that the only role of his client is that he gave his car to one of his friends, Amit Khanna, one of the accused in the case, around 5.30 pm on December 31, at his father’s residence.

“He himself handed over his car to the police officials and helped them to arrest the other co-accused persons in this case,” the advocate submitted further.

Ankush, a co-accused in the same FIR has already been granted bail by the court of the Metropolitan Magistrate on January 7.

He also argued that at the time of the commission of the offence, the accused (Ashutosh) was present with his family and neighbours at his residence to ring in the New Year.

Advocate Chaudhary claimed Ankush came to his client’s house along with another accused, Deepak, and an auto-rickshaw driver.

Ankush then took Ashutosh away from his residence, the lawyer claimed further.

He also submitted that the allegations against the accused that he did not convey the facts of the case to the police, aided in the disappearence of evidence in the offence and harboured and protected the other co-accused are bailable in nature.

There was no intention to screen the co-accused, the advocate said, adding that the accused/applicant had cooperated with the investigators for 4-5 days and the police did not arrest him.

It was only because of media pressure that the accused was arrested, the counsel submitted further.

As per the Delhi Police, the applicant/accused is the custodial owner of the offending vehicle used in the alleged offence and gave the car to his friend and co-accused Amit, who did not have a valid licence.

The accused/ applicant is alleged to have not revealed all the facts conveyed by his friend to the investigators and to have misled the police by claiming that co-accused Deepak was driving the car at the time of the incident.

Special Public Prosecutor Atul Srivastava argued that for the offence of conspiracy, the presence of the accused/applicant at the place of the incident was not required. The applicant/accused cannot claim parity with co-accused Ankush as the accused/applicant is the one who had provided the vehicle to the co-accused knowing that they did not have a valid driving licence, he added.

He also informed the court that the police are in the process of adding IPC section 302 (murder) in this case.

Court dcouments quoted the SPP as saying, “All the co-accused reached the house of the accused/ applicant Ashutosh and thereafter the offending vehicle reached his house. The accused/ applicant Ashutosh came out with the false story that co-accused Deepak was driving the vehicle and not co-accused Amit.”

As per the investigation of the police and the statement under Section 164 of CrPC of one Sahil, Amit was driving the vehicle and not Deepak, the SPP argued.

Opposing the bail plea, the SPP submitted, “Considering the entire scenario, the applicant/ accused was in conspiracy with other co-accused persons due to which the Metropolitan magistrate rejected bail (to Ashutosh) and granted police custody. The investigation is still at the initial stage.”

The other accused in the case are Manoj Mittal, Deepak Khanna, Amit Khanna, Krishan and Mithun. They are currently in judicial custody.

They were arrested on January 1.

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