New Delhi, April 10 (IANS) In a setback to Congress leader Jagdish Tytler, a Delhi court Wednesday ordered the reopening of a case against him related to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
Additional Sessions Judge Anuradha Shukla Bajaj also set aside the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) closure report which gave Tytler a clean chit, claiming there was “no evidence” against him.
The court’s order came on a plea filed by a riot victim, who sought further probe into the killing of three people near Gurdwara Pul Bangash in central Delhi.
Tytler is accused of instigating a mob that led to the murder of three men who had taken shelter at the gurdwara Nov 1, 1984.
The mob attack was part of violence against Sikhs after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi Oct 31, 1984.
The court directed the CBI to examine eye-witnesses and people who claimed they have information about the riots.
The court, setting aside the magisterial court order that accepted the CBI’s closure report, said: “The order of the trial court accepting the closure report is set aside. The CBI is directed to conduct further investigation in the light of aforesaid facts and to record the statements of witnesses, who it had come to know during the investigation itself, are claiming/shown/named to be the eye-witnesses of the incident.”
The CBI had an “obligation” to record the statement of US-based three men, whose names were taken by an eye-witness that they were also present at the spot, the court observed in the order.
The court said: “The moment this statement of the witness was recorded irrespective of whether he was telling truth or lie, the investigating agency had an obligation to have recorded the statements of these persons or at least to have made enquiry from them.”
The CBI “did not have any right” to not record the statements of these witnesses and it must have left the issue to the court to form its own opinion regarding reliability of these witnesses, the court said.
“We understand that the CBI reserves its right to conclude that these witnesses were planted and not trustworthy and thus to file a closure report giving its opinion on the issue, however, it did not have any right to have not recorded the statements of these witnesses and thus to have prevented the court from forming its own opinion regarding reliability of these witnesses,” the order added.
Opposing the victim’s plea, the probe agency sought its dismissal saying the probe made it clear that Tytler was not present Nov 1, 1984, at Gurudwara Pul Bangash during the riots.
However, senior advocate H.S. Phoolka, appearing for petitioner Lakhwinder Kaur said that there was material which the CBI had ignored.
Three men – Badal Singh, Thakur Singh and Gurcharan Singh – were killed near Gurudwara Pul Bangash, allegedly on Tytler’s instigation.
His role in the killing of three men was re-investigated by the CBI after a court in December 2007 refused to accept its closure report.
Tytler was at Teen Murti House, the residence of the then late prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, where Indira Gandhi’s body was kept, at the time of the Pul Bangash incident, the CBI claimed.
It added that the agency has already re-investigated the case on the order of trial court but there was in sufficient evidence against Tytler.
Tytler was given clean chit by the CBI April 2, 2009.