Delhi riots: AAP leader Tahir Hussain booked for murder of IB staffer; suspended by party
Mohammad Tahir Hussain, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) councillor from Nehru Vihar, was booked for murder and abduction on Thursday, a day after allegations surfaced that he was linked to the death of Intelligence Bureau officer Ankit Sharma in north-east Delhi’s Chand Bagh.
Though Hussain denied the allegations and stressed that he was at a relative’s place at that time, AAP national convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said if any of his party members were involved in the riots, they should be punished. Later on Thursday evening, the AAP suspended Hussain pending investigation and a clean chit from the judiciary.
“The case has been registered against Hussain at Dayalpur police station on the complaint of Sharma’s father,” said a senior police officer.
Sharma’s relatives and some local residents accused Hussain of using his men to capture and kill the 26-year-old officer on Tuesday afternoon in Khajuri, close to Chand Bagh. The body was fished out of a nearby drain on Wednesday morning.
Sharma’s uncle, Sudhir, alleged that his nephew and two of his friends were captured while they walked out of their houses to see what was unfolding in the streets. “The mob fired multiple rounds,” Sudhir alleged, adding that Sharma was stabbed multiple times. Similar allegations were made by many other residents.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s Kapil Mishra shared videos of some people purportedly seen dumping something in the drain. Hindustan Times could not independently verify the authenticity of the video.
Another allegation against Hussain was that he was involved in rioting and that the terrace of his four-storey building — his residence as well as a factory that is just 200m from the spot where the body was recovered — was used as a base by rioters to pelt stones and throw petrol bombs (Molotov cocktail).
When HT visited the building, there were stones, petrol bombs and catapults.
But Hussain said he was not inside the building at the time. He said he was in constant touch with senior police officers as well as AAP leader Sanjay Singh for help against the mob, which, he said, broke into his building and used its terrace.
Hussain said that he had led a peace march in police presence on Monday morning. “By around 1.30pm, stones were pelted again from the buildings across the road. The mob on the road too was pelting stones and soon someone set a relative’s motorcycle on fire outside,” he said.
Between 2.30-3pm, a mob broke open the gates of his building, he said. “I called the police control room, but no force arrived. So, I picked a stick and stood near the residential portion of my building to protect my family. My employees and I tried to chase away the mob. My family and my business were under threat,” he said.
At around 4.30pm he called Sanjay Singh, Hussain said. “Singh asked me to call DCP Ved Prakash Surya and when I couldn’t connect, he made me speak to him through a conference call. By 7:30pm, we controlled the situation by ourselves. By 8pm, the police arrived,” said Hussain.
Sanjay Singh said, “Hussain had asked police for protection. But, the police came eight hours late and rescued him and his family from his house.”
Hussain said he sent his family to a relative’s place by 9pm and that crime branch additional commissioner Ajit Singla came to his house by 11pm.
“Singla searched my premises since some people alleged that rioters were hiding inside. They found no one and then my building was occupied by the security forces. I didn’t enter my house after 11pm Monday,” said Hussain.
He said that while the situation remained volatile the entire next day, problems began after the forces suddenly vacated the premises around 4pm on Tuesday. “I called joint commissioner Alok Kumar and local police officers for help, but that didn’t happen despite assurances,” said Hussain, adding that he then left for a relative’s place.
The police officers mentioned by Hussain did not respond to phone calls and texts sent by Hindustan Times.