Thanks to “sheer harassment” by Delhi Police for almost two decades, Irfan Ali can claim to be a criminal law expert.
Had the 42-year-old Jamia Nagar resident held a law degree, he could have considered a lucrative career as a lawyer.
This small-time garment businessman has been accused in 47 cases ranging from carjacking and theft to TADA, but police are yet to produce any evidence against him, he claims. He has been set free in 40 of the cases so far. Of the remaining seven, two are pending in court and police are yet to file a chargesheet in the other five.
Ali, who claims being “unnecessarily harassed by a police officer to settle
personal scores”, has petitioned Delhi High Court for a CBI probe into why he has been harassed and held without evidence several times since 1991.
He claims his woes began after he asked for the repayment of Rs 30,000 he had loaned a person whose relative was with Delhi Police. He was threatened with “dire consequences” including that many “unsolved cases of car theft would be foisted on him”, he alleged.
“This is a classic case of brazen abuse of the process of law by Delhi Police,” Ali’s counsel Sufian Siddiqui submitted before Justice Veena Birbal.
The judge has sought a status report from the Delhi Police, which has ordered a vigilance probe.
But Siddiqui called it a cover-up operation. “Only the CBI can probe the matter with an unbiased approach,” he said.
“We initiated a probe into the matter on the directions of the government counsel, and Delhi High Court has not issued any directions to the police,” said a senior vigilance official who did not want to be named, as he is not authorised to speak to the media. Defending the police, he added: “Ali is a master auto lifter and he has not been convicted in a single case because he leaves no trace of his crime.”
Trial judges in most of the car-theft cases against Ali had raised doubts over the recovery of the stolen vehicles.
For example, he was implicated in a case of car theft when the court was told the vehicle had been recovered from a Mumbai highway. The court acquitted him as Delhi Police showed no involvement of local police while recovering the vehicle. The judge had questioned the claim, saying Mumbai police could not have ignored an abandoned car for several days.
‘I am being used to a fill the blanks in unsolved cases. There were occasions when I came to know about the charges only after my arrest. On one occasion, 25 cases were slapped on me in a single day,” Ali claimed.