The curious case of Tahir Hussain

Reading time: 6-8 minutes.

Amidst the Anti-CAA protests in north-east Delhi which has claimed the lives of many, the Delhi police suspended Aam Aadmi Party Councilor, Tahir Hussain. Hussain is a chief suspect in the brutal murder of Intelligence Bureau officer Ankit Sharma, whose body was recovered from a drain on 26th February. The postmortem report reveals twelve wounds caused by a sharp weapon. The victim’s father had claimed that Ankit Sharma was stabbed, and further shot by Tahir Hussain’s supporters. According to the FIR, a group of protestors were seen throwing petrol bombs and pelting stones from the terrace of a building owned by Tahir Hussain.

Tahir Hussain was absconding after his anticipatory bail was rejected by the Delhi court. After six days on the run, he sought a plea to surrender to the Rouse Avenue court, which was dismissed by the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Vishal Pahuja on the ground that such a decision was out of his jurisdiction, following which the Delhi police force had taken Hussain into custody. Tahir Hussain’s father and brother, Shah Alam were also arrested on the basis of alleged involvement in the riots.

Hussain’s advocate, Mukesh Kalia submits that his client was being threatened, thus compelling him to seek for a surrender plea in the Rouse Avenue court.

Background – Allegations against Tahir Hussain

The SIT team along with forensics experts recovered stones, acid and bottles allegedly used for petrol bombs from the rooftop of Tahir Hussain’s residence cum commercial complex. The much awaited investigation is under process as the mystery behind the Delhi riots is soon to be unfolded.

Factual charges framed against Tahir Hussain

Money Laundering

After the Delhi police named Tahir Hussain as the prime suspect in the north-east Delhi riots and for murder of Intelligence Bureau officer Ankit Sharma, the ED has booked a case under The Prevention of Money-Laundering Act, 2002 against Hussain and the Popular Front of India. The 3 were present on Hussain’s rooftop and have been identified based on video evidence and photograph. The enforcement directorate has filed a money laundering case against suspended AAP councillor Tahir Hussain for his alleged funding of the Anti-CAA riots in north-east Delhi
and is speculated to be arrested after the police custody has ended. 

Rioting

The first FIR filed by the Delhi police against Tahir Hussain was in connection with the north-east Delhi riots which took place in the month of February 2020

Murder of Intelligence Bureau officer Ankit Sharma

Intelligence Bureau staffer Ankit Sharma, who was brutally slaughtered during the riots in north-east Delhi, was stripped naked before his killing. The terrifying details of his murder were publicized by the Delhi Police. Sharma was allegedly wrapped in a black rag, taken to former AAP councilor Tahir Hussain’s house and was stabbed numerous times. His body was thrown in a drain in Chandbagh area. The forensics team also collected samples from the site from where his body was recovered. The Delhi Police has named suspended AAP councillor Tahir Hussain and others as accused for their role in the killing of Sharma based on the complaint of his father. 

Relevant legal principles:

  1. Money Laundering Charge

Section 3 of The Prevention Of Money-Laundering Act, 2002 reads, “Whosoever directly or indirectly attempts to indulge or knowingly assists or knowingly is a party or is actually involved in any process or activity connected proceeds of crime including its concealment, possession, acquisition or use and projecting or claiming it as untainted property shall be guilty of offence of money-laundering.”

Section 4 of act provides the punishment for money-Laundering, “Whoever commits the offence of money-laundering shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than three years but which may extend to seven years and shall also be liable to fine”

  • Murder, Rioting and Other Charges

Punishment for murder under Section 302 of Indian Penal Code, “whoever commits murder shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.”

Punishment for Harbouring Persons hired for an unlawful assembly under Section 157 of Indian Penal Code, “Whoever harbours, receives or assembles, in any house or premises in his occupation or charge, or under his control any persons, knowing that such persons have been hired, engaged or employed, or are about to be hired, engaged or employed, to join or become members of an unlawful assembly, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both.”

Probable future of the case:

The future of the case seems obscure as Investigation is yet to reveal the modus operandi. However the evidence recovered on the rooftop of Hussain’s residence by the SIT and the forensics team seems legitimate and concrete. Therefore, it is a strong case that Hussain has triggered the north-east Delhi riots.

Conclusion

At such an infant stage, any sort of conclusion drawn based on the allegations would be erroneous. Therefore, it is wise to wait for the investigation report upon the expiry of the 14 day police custody. The Enforcement Directorate would also be required to look into Tahir Hussain’s source of income to confirm whether there are other anti-social elements involved in connection with the Delhi riots.

Author: Natesh Kumar from SASTRA Deemed University.

Editor: Anna Jose Kallivayalil from NLU, Delhi.

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