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Home / Cities / Police reach out to potential public witnesses, want some ‘independent’ testimonies on cop-lawyer clash

Police reach out to potential public witnesses, want some ‘independent’ testimonies on cop-lawyer clash

cities Updated: Nov 12, 2019 19:22 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent

New Delhi:

The crime branch’s Special Investigating Team (SIT) probing the violent clash between advocates and police at Tis Hazari court on November 2 has called out to potential witnesses to record their statements or share any photos and videos of the incident .

In an advertisement meant mainly for civilians, the police on Tuesday invited all potential witnesses to visit them at the Sabzi Mandi police station within a week or call on mobile phone numbers of some police officers.

Issued in the name of Joy Tirkey, deputy commissioner of police (crime branch), the advertisement was a call to all witnesses, or those who had any information about the incident, or were in possession of videos and images that could serve as evidence.

A senior investigator, who did not want to be identified, said the availability of nearly 300 CCTV cameras in the court premises helped capture most of the violence and establish much of the sequence of events. But in terms of eyewitnesses, the police so far have statements of only the police and some lawyers.

“We are now looking for some independent witnesses in the form of civilians,” the investigator said.

Many undertrial prisoners who were in the court’s lock-up at that time also witnessed the clashes but most of them claimed they were too worried about their lives to notice who were involved in the clashes, the officer said. “Also, the statements of prisoners in this case may not hold much weight in court,” the officer said.

In search of the “independent witnesses”, the SIT is looking for litigants, metro commuters and other passersby who had stood in large numbers and seen the clashes. “The clashes had gone on for over three hours. So many people recorded the videos and took photos. But we have no way to identify them all or reach them individually,” said the officer about the advertisement.

While CCTV footage may have helped establish the sequence of events and say which group was at greater fault, most of the videos are not clear enough to help identify the individuals involved in the clashes. “The videos shot on mobile phones will have clearer footage of individuals,” said the officer.

The investigator said the potential witnesses have the option of concealing their identities while sharing information and evidence. “They may simply share the videos and images with us over the phone and request their identities be kept a secret. We’ll not make those people a part of our investigation. They needn’t worry about being harassed,” said the officer.

The clashes at Tis Hazari court are being probed by an SIT comprising officers of Delhi Police’s crime branch. The High Court, however, has stopped the police from taking coercive action against the lawyers.

In the days following the clashes, multiple CCTV footage emerged – almost all of them showing only the lawyers attacking the police at the court premises. The lawyers have criticised the police for “selectively leaking” footage that show only the lawyers in poor light.