The investigation into the violence at Azad Maidan on August 11 has not only raised questions about the pace at which the probe is being conducted, but also the intention of the police in arresting the main culprits.
Even after constituting a special investigation team (SIT) involving over 60 officers drawn from various units, the crime branch has so far been able to round up only 53 of the hooligans who were caught on camera. The figure appears to be a fraction of those who indulged in violence, especially after the claims made by policemen deployed at the venue on that day that they numbered over 400. 400 hooligans, only 58 arrests
The police are also still to identify or lay their hands on those who instigated the protesters in the run up to the rally by making public announcements, and circulating doctored images and provocative text messages, as well as some of the organisers. While 17 of those present on the dais at the rally have been named in the FIR, they have neither been cleared in the probe, nor have they been named as suspects or the accused.
Besides, even though the police recently added IPC section 505 (statement intended to incite violence) to the FIR after one of the speeches made during the rally was found to be provocative, action against the speaker is pending.
Joint commissioner of police (crime) Himanshu Roy, who is the supervising officer of the probe, denied the investigation is progressing at a snail’s pace. “It is not correct. We are moving cautiously so that no innocent is punished,” Roy said while stating that five of those arrested have been discharged for want of evidence, on applications made by the police in the court.
“Unlike the overt players caught on camera, the covert ones are not seen. That is why the task of collecting evidence against them is difficult,” Roy said, and added, “We are working on a certain direction and are hopeful to reach them soon.”
Meanwhile, crime branch sources told HT that the police have identified people who were involved in the motivational sessions at Jogeshwari, Gharib Nagar in Bandra (East) and Govandi, areas from where the maximum number of hooligans had swarmed to the venue.