1984 riots: Court permits confronting witness with previous statement

New Delhi : A court hearing a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case on Wednesday allowed Congress leader Sajjan Kumar’s plea to confront one of the witnesses with her previous statement and said it will be done in accordance with law.

Sajjan Kumar’s counsel urged District Judge Amar Nath that he wanted to confront prosecution witness Sheela Kaur with her statement made on February 10, 1985, in another case.

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The Central Bureau of Investigation raised objection and apprised the court that during investigation it was found by the agency that the local police was hand in glove with the killers and hence they deliberately did not record the victim’s statement in a fair and impartial manner.

The CBI told the court that this fact was also highlighted in the Nanavati Commission report on the 1984 riots.

However, the court allowed Kumar’s plea but directed that the witness will be confronted with her previous statement in accordance with law.

The defence counsel sought some time to apply for the certified copies of the alleged statement.

Therefore, the court adjourned the matter to October 21.

Currently, the court is recording the statement of prosecution witness Sheela Kaur whose husband, brother-in-law and father-in-law were killed in the 1984 riots.

The case proceedings are being video-recorded.

The Central Bureau of Investigation had filed two chargesheets against Sajjan Kumar and others in January 2010 in cases registered in 2005, on the recommendation of Justice G.T. Nanavati Commission that probed the sequence of events leading to riots.

Kaur had deposed that it was Sajjan Kumar who provoked a mob that attacked her house.

Sajjan Kumar, along with Brahmanand Gupta and Ved Prakash, is facing trial in connection with the killing of Sikhs in Sultanpuri in north Delhi during the anti-Sikh riots that erupted after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by two of her Sikh security guards.

The court has framed various charges, including those of murder and rioting, against the three accused.