Delhi Police commissioner S N Shrivastava today said the violence that broke out in the national capital on Republic Day was not due to intelligence failure.

He charged that the farmers protesting against the Centre’s controversial agriculture laws had betrayed the trust of the city police by not following pre-decided routes during the tractor parade in Delhi on 26 January.

Addressing the annual press conference at Delhi Police headquarters, Shrivastava said there were apprehensions, which was why barricades were placed and the farmers were stopped on that day. He said 152 people have been arrested so far in connection with the Republic Day violence.

Thousands of farmers protesting the Centre’s three new farm laws had clashed with the police during their tractor parade. Many of the protesters, driving tractors, reached the Red Fort and entered the monument.

Some protesters even hoisted religious flags on its domes and a flagstaff at the ramparts, where the national flag is unfurled on Independence Day

Over 500 police personnel were injured and one protester died on that day. Replying to a question about the possibility of an intelligence failure on 26 January, Shrivastava claimed that “there was no intelligence failure”.

“We had been holding talks with them (farmers). We had permitted them to take out the tractor rally. As per the agreement, certain terms and conditions were laid down and they were given designated routes to take out their tractor parade.

“But they betrayed the trust of Delhi Police and resorted to violence. The police discharged its duties very well,” he claimed. He added that the farmer leaders have also responded to the notices served on them by the city police. Referring to the devastating February 2020 communal riots in Northeast Delhi — the national capital’s worst violence since the 1984 anti-Sikh riots — the Delhi Police chief said technology was used extensively to investigate over 750 cases related to it that led to the arrest of over 200 people.

Shrivastava said 755 FIRs were registered in connection with the Northeast Delhi riots, claiming that his force ensured a “free and fair” investigation. It is another matter that a number of city police personnel were alleged to have been hand in glove with the rioters in several cases of violence. Communal violence had broken out in Northeast Delhi on 24 February last year after clashes between citizenship law supporters and its protesters spiralled, leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured.

“You are aware of the riots which led to 53 deaths and 581 injuries. Riots reached its peak on February 24 and 25 last year. A total of 755 FIRs were registered and we made it a point that no one had a grievance that their complaint was not acknowledged,” Shrivastava said.

He said three SITs were formed to investigate the cases. All the important cases (around 60) were transferred to the three SITs under the crime branch. One of the case was registered to unearth the conspiracy behind the riots, which was investigated by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police while the remaining cases were investigated by northeast district police, he said.

According to the police, overall 1,818 people have been arrested so far in 400 cases in connection with Northeast Delhi riots. “For ensuring that the investigation is free and fair, use of technology was made and the evidences which are based on science and technology cannot be refuted,” he said.

Elaborating on the use of technology, the Delhi Police chief said 231 accused were arrested on the basis of CCTV footage. “Of them, 137 were identified through FRS (Facial Recognition System) when matched with criminal records and remaining 94 were through driving license photographs,” Shrivastava said.

He said the investigation teams used video analytics and FRS to analyse CCTV footage to identify the accused, retrieved deleted data from electronic devices, used geo-location to ascertain the presence of the accused and drone mapping for crime scene reconstruction. The use of DNA finger printing, e-Vahan database, facial recognition, fund flow analysis and forensic teams comprising physical, chemical, biological and ballistic analysis of videos and photographs through open sources were also used to investigate the cases, he added.