The Delhi police filed a chargesheet before a court on Sunday against six persons in the alleged murder of an 85-year-old woman. She was choked to death when her house was torched during the communal violence in north-east Delhi in February.

The Delhi Police Crime Branch filed the chargesheet before Metropolitan Magistrate Rakesh Kumar Rampuri against the six persons who were allegedly part of a mob that set on fire Akbari Begum’s house, eventually leading to her death.

The court has put up the matter for consideration of the chargesheet on June 21.

The chargesheet was filed against Arun Kumar, Varun Kumar, Vishal Singh, Ravi Kumar, Prakash Chand, and Suraj Singh for offences of rioting (147 and 148), unlawful assembly (149), murder (302), attempt to murder (307), dacoity with murder (396), mischief by fire (436), trespass (455), causing disappearance of evidence (201), disobedience of public servant’s order (188) and common intention (34) under the Indian Penal Code.

All the accused are in judicial custody. The offences entail a maximum punishment of death penalty.

The Crime Branch has so far filed 13 chargesheets in cases related to north-east Delhi riots. It was investigating 59 cases related to murder and rioting.

According to the chargesheet, on February 25, when the mob set Begum’s house on fire, others had escaped to the roof, but the octogenarian could not manage to climb. Subsequently, she died due to asphyxia (suffocation due to inhalation of smoke) and her charred body was recovered when officials succeeded in dousing the fire, the police said. Her family members were rescued from the rooftop.

The FIR in the case was registered based on the complaint of her son, Saeed Salmani, who had a garment shop on the ground floor of the building.

In his complaint, he said that his four-storey building was allegedly torched by the mob. His shop was destroyed, his house burnt and jewellery and cash looted. Mr. Salmani had gone out to purchase milk when the incident took place, the complaint stated.

The chargesheet stated that six persons were arrested based on the videos that went viral on the social media, statements of police officers who rescued her family members, statements of eyewitnesses and other technical evidence, including call detail records.

Further investigation is underway and effort to identify the other accused in the case is on, the police added.

Communal clashes had broken out in north-east Delhi on February 24 this year, leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured.

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