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’84 riots: Jasbir Singh moves high court against CBI


New Delhi : Jasbir Singh, a key witness in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots who lives in California, Friday moved a petition in the Delhi High Court through his counsel stating that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had not followed the right procedure of summoning him.

“The CBI has evoked the provision of Code of Criminal Procedure and sent Jasbir Singh notice under Section 160 (Indian jurisdiction of summoning) instead of Section 166 (for summoning a person living outside India). So we have approached the court, otherwise the CBI will on Jan 16 show in the court that Jasbir did not appear before it, despite the summons,” Sharad Kapoor, lawyer of Jasbir Singh, told IANS.

Kapoor said the CBI couldn’t summon him directly by sending a notice under Section 160 of CrPC at such a short period as he cannot arrange the finances quickly.

The CBI had sent a notice to Jasbir Singh on Jan 2 to appear before the agency Jan 8. On Jan 16, the CBI has to tell the court what it has done to record Singh’s evidence.

“The CBI should follow a proper channel by sending him a notice under Section 166 CrPC following which the agency has to file an application before the US authorities. Only after their permission, can they record his statement through wire-media (video-conferencing),” said Kapoor.

The court is likely to take up Singh’s petition for hearing on Monday.

Jasbir Singh wants to testify against Congress parliamentarian Jagdish Tytler in the 1984 riots, but not in India, as he says he fears for his life.

“The CBI, by sending such notices, is making flimsy excuses to save itself from the ire of the court Jan 16, when they have to inform what they have done so far to record his statement,” said Navkiran Singh, another counsel.

“The adamant attitude of the CBI to ask the witness to depose before it, despite the law providing an option to record the statement in another court, raises suspicion,” he said.

Navkiran Singh insisted that the presence of the witness could put his life at risk. He also alleged that the CBI was working to ensure that Tytler, a former union minister, goes scot-free.

The CBI notice to Jasbir Singh came after he and his two counsels wrote to the agency Dec 24 last year to record his statement in a US court.

In the notice, the CBI had stated that Singh “needs to be examined in-depth and is also required to point out the place in Outram Line area (in Delhi) where he had overheard the accused (Tytler) instigating the mob” to kill Sikhs after the assassination of former prime minister Indira Gandhi.

On Dec 6 last year, Jasbir Singh, whom the CBI had declared as untraceable, filed an application before the court through his counsel that he was ready to depose as a witness against Tytler.

On Dec 18, the Karkardooma court in Delhi ordered further investigation in the case and directed the CBI to record Jasbir Singh’s statement.

On Sep 29 last year, the CBI had recommended the anti-Sikh riot case against Tytler and one Kishan Sharma be closed as no evidence could be found against them.