M A I N   N E W S

’84 riots cases against Tytler, Sajjan Kumar
referred to CBI
S. Satyanarayanan
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 27
Two months after the tabling of the Justice Nanavati Commission report on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Parliament, the Centre today referred to the CBI the cases against Congress leaders Jagdish Tytler, Sajjan Kumar and Dharam Dass Shastri asking it to examine whether they should be reinvestigated.

The Ministry of Home Affairs also sought legal advice from the Ministry of Law on the issue of taking disciplinary action under the service rules against government servants who had since retired and those still in service but disciplinary action had become “time-barred” as per the existing rules.

The CBI has already received the Ministry of Home Affairs’ formal orders for reinvestigation against the three Congress leaders along with case diaries and commission’s report.

In all, the Centre has referred 10 cases to the CBI — seven against Sajjan Kumar, two against Tytler and one against Shastri.

There were allegations made against these leaders in affidavits before the commission that they had instigated mobs to attack the Sikhs in the Capital after the assassination of Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984.

The CBI’s Special Crime Branch has been entrusted with the job of reinvestigating the cases, which will have to first seek the permission of court concerned under Section 173 (8) of the CrPC for reopening of the same.

The agency will also have to register a fresh case before conducting further probe against the accused.

The Nanavati Commission, which had probed the riot cases, had suggested in its report submitted to the government in February, 2005, to examine whether cases against Tytler, Kumar and Shastri could be looked into without making any direct comment on their alleged involvement in the riots.

During Monsoon Session of Parliament in August, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister Shivraj Patil had given an assurance that wherever the commission had made certain particular observations against specific individuals, the government will take all possible steps to look into them within the ambit of law.

The commission had indicted Tytler saying that there was “credible evidence” against him, that he “very probably” had a hand in organising attacks and demanded that government take “further action as may be necessary”.

Tytler resigned as Union Minister shortly after the report was presented.

The 339-page report of the commission had also pointed finger at several senior Congress leaders, including Sajjan Kumar, Shastri and H.K.L. Bhagat.

It had, however, absolved the party saying there was no evidence to suggest that former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi or any other high-ranking leader had “suggested or organised” the attacks.

On the role of Sajjan Kumar in the riots, the commission recommended examination of only those cases where the witnesses had made accusations against him specifically.

“There is credible material” against Sajjan Kumar and another Congress leader, Balwan Khokar, that they were “probably involved as alleged by witnesses”, the commission said.

However, the Action Taken Report of the government on the commission’s findings tabled in the Parliament rejected the recommendation saying “it is clear from the remarks ‘very probably’ that the commission itself was not absolutely sure about his involvement in such attacks”.

The commission was of the view that there was “credible evidence” against Shastri and recommended the government to examine the relevant material and direct investigation or further investigation as may be found necessary.

Pointing out that Shastri was not named as an accused in the case, the ATR said the government would examine the factual position for appropriate action.

The commission also came down heavily on the failure of the Delhi Police and criticised the role of the then Police Commissioner S.C. Tandon and the then Lieut-Governor of Delhi P.G. Gavai.

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