A Delhi court on Wednesday framed charges against Aam Aadmi Party MLA Amanatullah Khan for allegedly abetting the kidnapping of 15 child labourers when they were being rescued from weaving units in New Delhi in 2010, paving the way for his trial in the case.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal put on trial the legislator and another accused Saifiullah Siddiqui after they appeared in the court and pleaded not guilty.
The court framed charges of abetting kidnapping and criminal intimidation to cause death or grievous hurt against the two accused.
Both the offences entail a maximum punishment of seven years in jail, with or without fine.
It listed the matter for December 14 for commencing the trial by recording evidence. The trial court framed the charges after a sessions court on December 3 set aside an earlier order discharging Khan and Siddiqui.
The case relates to the rescue of 15 child labourers by the police and the NGO from Batla House, Jamia Nagar in New Delhi.
However, a mob allegedly led by Khan and Siddiqui gathered at the spot, threatened to kill the rescuing team and forcibly took away the children.
The magisterial court had discharged the two accused as the police filed the charge sheet in 2016, six years after the lodging of the first information report, which was much beyond the permissible time limit.
Earlier, the court, while setting aside an order discharging AAP MLA Khan, had said if the trial court had considered Section 473 (extension of period of limitation in certain cases) of the CrPC, 'this court is hopeful that the trial court would have taken a contrary view considering that it was a case involving 15 child labourers who were rescued but again snatched back using criminal intimidation by the accused persons and it would have condoned the delay in the interest of justice'.
It had passed the order on Monday disposing of a revision petition filed by Rakesh Senger, a former National Secretary of NGO Bachpan Bachao Aandolan (BBA), challenging the discharge.
"This is the fact situation in the capital of the country. When an NGO armed with various orders of the courts was part of the rescue team comprising officers of Labour Department and police, still they had to flee to save their life and the police personnel remained silent spectator while the accused persons threatened them that they will be killed or their bones would be broken," said the order made available on Tuesday.
The court had rejected the NGO's plea to charge the accused for the offences under Sections 186 and 353 of CrPC in the absence of a written complaint by the public servant to the court.
A magisterial court had on May 3 discharged both the accused and pulled up the police for its 'lethargic' investigation.
An FIR was registered in Jamia Nagar police station on November 1, 2010 on the complaint of the then sub-division magistrate, who was leading a rescue team of child labourers in that area.
The FIR had said 15 child labourers were rescued by the authorities from different 'zari' units in a joint raid launched in Batla House area by a task force on elimination of child labour, the sub-divisional magistrate, officials of the Labour Department, the Delhi Police and NGO BBA on November 1, 2010.
The children were taken to a vehicle of the NGO, but the accused and others obstructed them from taking them away, shouted at the authorities and had an altercation with labour department officials, it was alleged. -- PTI