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Constable Tomar's death: Delhi Police opposes plea to quash murder charges

Even as the case charging eight people for the murder of constable Subhash Tomar is pending investigation, the Delhi Police finds itself mired in court cases seeking quashing of charges against the accused and transfer of the investigation into the constable’s death to the CBI.

Tomar collapsed while he was on duty at India Gate on December 23, where he had been deployed to maintain order in the wake of public protests against the gang rape of a student a week earlier. He died two days later (on December 25) at RML hospital.

Police and protesters clash in Delhi early this month. Naresh Sharma/Firstpost

While the cause of the constable’s death remains controversial with eye-witness reports suggesting he collapsed on his own and the post-mortem report stating he was assaulted, the Delhi Police is also battling allegations in court that it has wrongfully implicated eight people in Tomar’s death.

Describing the petition that has sought quashing of the FIR against the eight accused as “an abuse of the process of court”, the Delhi Police in its report submitted to the High Court on Tuesday (January 15) has said the petition is based “solely on newspaper reports” and is a means to “deflect the investigation.”

The Police report states that investigation is at a preliminary stage and quashing of FIR at this stage was not justified.  Giving details of the progress in the investigation, the Delhi Police informed the court that a three-member medical board comprising forensic medical experts had been constituted last week (January 12) to look into the cause of Tomar’s death.

The Delhi Police further informed the High Court that the video footage of December 23 (the day Tomar collapsed) from the Delhi Metro, 35 CCTV cameras installed around India Gate, and from 11 TV channels had been collected by the Crime Branch (which is investigating the case) and that they were still waiting for footage from 12 more TV channels.

“In the data analysed so far some rioters are seen indulging in assault on police men and damage to public property around India Gate on December 23,” the police report states.

Strongly contesting the Delhi Police’s interim report, advocate Somnath Bharti who has filed the petition on behalf of seven of the eight accused described it as ‘evasive’. He said that the Delhi Police had not produced an “iota of proof even indicative in nature towards these eight youth involvement in this crime.”

In a statement to the press, Bharti said that the court during Tuesday’s hearing directed the Crime Branch to gather data from respective mobile service providers for location data of the accused on December 23. “The mobile locations of the accused will be crucial evidence in proving their innocence,” said Bharti.

In their petition, the accused had urged the court to direct the Delhi Police “to approach the respective mobile service providers to get the mobile locations of all accused persons for the entire day of 23.12.2012 and especially at the time of the constable Tomar’s collapse.”

The petition also seeks the removal of Delhi Commissioner of Police for his “unconstitutional/illegal act of arresting eight innocent youth and continuing to hold that they were picked up from the site of the crime, in spite of proofs….”
The court will hear the matter next on January 29.