Setback for Tytler as court orders reopening of 1984 case


New Delhi : 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.

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Additional Sessions Judge Anuradha Shukla Bajaj also set aside the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) closure report which had given 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 in 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 Pul Bangash Gurdwara in north Delhi 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 the investigation and examine the claimants/eye witnesses in the case.”

Opposing the victim’s plea against the CBI closure report, the agency had sought its dismissal, saying the probe has made it clear that Tytler was not present on Nov 1, 1984, at Gurudwara Pul Bangash where three people were killed during the riots.

However, senior advocate H.S. Phoolka, appearing for petitioner Lakhwinder Kaur had said there was material which the CBI had ignored and evidence was also there before the trial court against Tytler.

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 the three men was re-investigated by the CBI after a court in December 2007 refused to accept its closure report.

The CBI had claimed Tytler was at Teen Murti Bhavan, the residence of the then late prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, where Indira Gandhi’s body was laid, at the time of the Pul Bangash incident.

It added that the agency has already re-investigated the case on the order of trial court but there was no sufficient evidence against Tytler.

Tytler was given clean chit by the CBI April 2, 2009, which claimed that the agency had no evidence against him.

For Lakhvinder Kaur, the judgment has given hope of justice, though after more than 28 years.

“I died the day my husband was killed in the riots,” said Lakhvinder Kaur.

“In our 28 years long fight for justice, we could not get any positive decision in our favour, but the district court’s order to reopen the case is like a ray of hope and happiness for us,” she said.

Her husband Badal Singh was killed in the riots.

Phoolka later told reporters that the prime witness in the riots case had died but three other witnesses are alive in the US, and that the court has directed the CBI to record their statements.

The conspiracy angle has not been probed at all, the counsel said, adding that the CBI should investigate the riots and the accused should be punished

Amid demands for Tytler’s removal from the party, Congress spokesperson Renuka Chowdury said: “Once the court comes out with something conclusive, it will be examined and we will take a call on that.”