1984 anti-Sikh riots: Centre seeks SC permission to disband SIT

The Centre on Friday sought the Supreme Court’s permission to disband a special investigation team (SIT), headed by former Delhi High Court judge Justice S N Dhingra, saying it has completed its probe into 186 cases of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

The SIT, also comprising retired IPS officer Rajdeep Singh and serving 2006 batch IPS officer Abhishek Dular, was set up by the apex court on January 11 last year to supervise further investigation into 186 riots cases, in which closure reports were filed earlier.

The SIT presently has only two members as Singh had declined to be a part of the team on “personal grounds”.

During the hearing on Friday, the Centre placed the SIT’s final report in a sealed cover before a bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant.

Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand told the bench that since the SIT has done its work and submitted its final report, the team should be discharged now.

Anand said the SIT’s report has been filed in a sealed cover and it should not be shared with the petitioner at this stage.

Senior advocate H S Phoolka, representing the riot victims, told the bench that the court should first examine the SIT’s final report and see if anything more was required to be done by the team before taking a decision on whether to disband it.

The bench, after taking on record the SIT’s report, said it would hear the matter after two weeks.

Earlier in March, the top court had granted two more months to the SIT to complete its probe into 186 riot cases after the SIT informed it that more than 50 per cent of work was done and it wanted two more months to complete the investigation.

Large-scale riots had broken out in the national capital in the aftermath of the assassination of the then prime minister Indira Gandhi by her two Sikh security guards on the morning of October 31, 1984. The violence had claimed 2,733 lives in Delhi alone.

1984 anti-Sikh riots: Justice Sanjiv Khanna recuses from hearing Sajjan Kumar’s appeal

The matter came up for hearing before a Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi.
Supreme Court judge Justice Sanjiv Khanna on Monday recused himself from hearing the appeal of former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar challenging the Delhi High Court verdict sentencing him to life term in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.

The matter came up for hearing before a Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi.

The 73-year-old Kumar surrendered before a trial court in Delhi on December 31, 2018 to serve the sentence in pursuance of the High Court’s December 17 judgment awarding him life imprisonment for the “remainder of his natural life“.

The case in which Kumar was convicted and sentenced relates to the killing of five Sikhs in Delhi Cantonment’s Raj Nagar Part-I area of southwest Delhi on November 1-2, 1984, and burning down of a gurudwara in Raj Nagar Part-II.

1984 anti-Sikh riots : Sajjan Kumar produced in Delhi court

Amid tight security, former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar was on Monday produced before a Delhi court in a 1984 anti-Sikh riot case.

The court had on January 22 issued production warrant against the former Congress leader after Tihar Jail authorities, where he is lodged after conviction in another case related to the riots, could not produce him.

In the case before the trial court, three persons — Kumar, Brahmanand Gupta and Ved Prakash — are facing trial on charges of murder and rioting pertaining to the killing of Surjit Singh in Sultanpuri.

The riots broke out after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards on October 31, 1984.

1984 anti-Sikh riots: Delhi court issues production warrant against Sajjan Kumar

A Delhi court Tuesday issued production warrant for January 28 against former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.

District Judge Poonam A Bamba issued production warrant against Kumar after Tihar Jail authorities, where he is lodged after conviction in another case related to the riots, could not produce him today.

In the case before the trial court, three persons — Kumar, Brahmanand Gupta and Ved Prakash — are facing trial on charges of murder and rioting pertaining to the killing of Surjit Singh in Sultanpuri.

The riots broke out after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards on October 31, 1984.

The witness, Cham Kaur, had on November 16 last year identified Kumar before the court as one who had allegedly instigated the mob to kill Sikhs.

Kaur had told the court that she had seen Kumar allegedly addressing a crowd in the national capital’s Sultanpuri area in 1984.

“On November 1, 1984 when I stepped out to look for my goat, I saw accused Sajjan Kumar addressing the crowd and saying ‘hamari ma maar di, Sardaro ko maar do’ (They killed our mother, kill the Sikhs),” Kaur had told the court.

She further said the next morning, her son and father were killed.

“My son Kapoor Singh and my father Sardarji Singh were pulled out of the hiding place on the second floor, beaten badly and thrown down from the roof,” Kaur had said, adding, she also received injuries in the attack.

Before Kaur, another key prosecution witness Sheela Kaur identified Kumar as one who had instigated a crowd in Sultanpuri.

The case was transferred from the Karkardooma court to the Patiala House court here by the Delhi High Court, which had directed the district judge to video record the proceedings at the cost of the accused.

Kumar and two other accused — Brahmanand Gupta and Ved Prakash — had said that they were ready to bear the expenses of the videography of proceedings.

The proceedings in the case were earlier stayed after the complainant Joginder Singh approached the high court seeking transfer of the case while alleging that evidence was not being properly recorded.

The Delhi High Court had on December 17 convicted Kumar and sentenced him to imprisonment for “remainder of his natural life” in another 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, saying the riots were a “crime against humanity” perpetrated by those who enjoyed “political patronage” and aided by an “indifferent” law enforcement agency.

1984 anti-Sikh riots: SC notice to CBI on Sajjan Kumar’s appeal

The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the CBI on former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar’s appeal against his conviction in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Ashok Bhushan and S K Kaul also issued notice on Kumar’s bail plea

Kumar, 73, surrendered before a trial court here on December 31, 2018 to serve his sentence in accordance with the Delhi High Court’s December 17 judgement, which convicted and sent him to prison for the “remainder of his natural life”.

The case in which Kumar was convicted and sentenced relates to the killing of five Sikhs in Delhi Cantonment’s Raj Nagar Part-I area of southwest Delhi on November 1-2, 1984 and the burning down of a gurudwara

The riots broke out after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984, by her two Sikh bodyguards.

Kumar resigned from the Congress after his conviction in the case

The high court found Kumar guilty of criminal conspiracy and abetment in commission of crimes of murder, promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of communal harmony and defiling and destruction of a gurudwara

It also upheld the conviction and varying sentences awarded by a trial court to five others — former Congress councillor Balwan Khokhar, retired naval officer Captain Bhagmal, Girdhari Lal and former MLAs Mahender Yadav and Kishan Khokhar

In its judgment, the high court noted that over 2,700 Sikhs were killed in the national capital during the 1984 riots, which it described as a “carnage of unbelievable proportions”

It said the riots were a “crime against humanity” perpetrated by those who enjoyed “political patronage” and aided by an “indifferent” law enforcement agency

The high court set aside the trial court’s 2010 verdict, which had acquitted Kumar in the case.

1984 Anti-Sikh Riots: HC upholds conviction of 80 people

NEW DELHI: In doing so, Justice R K Gauba upheld the jail terms of more than 80 people for their involvement in burning houses and violation of curfew during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. The convicts had challenged the August 27, 1996 judgement of a Sessions Court which had convicted 88 out of the 107 people arrested on November 2, 1984 for rioting, burning houses and curfew violation in Trilokpuri area of East Delhi.

It added that this case should serve as a lesson in how the criminal justice process should never take course, asserting, “The manner of prosecution of the case at hand would undoubtedly go-down in judicial history of this country as an example of of criminal law process that must never be emulated.

According to the FIR lodged in connection with the Trilokpuri incident, 95 people had died in the rioting and 100 houses were burnt, said senior advocate H S Phoolka, who has been representing the riot victims in various matters. Riots had engulfed the country after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984 witnessed widespread rioting and killings of Sikhs in the national capital and across the country.

1984 anti-Sikh riots: HC seeks CBI reply

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Friday directed the Central Bureau of Investigation to respond on a bail plea of a convict serving life sentence in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.

A bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel was seeking on the plea by former Congress councillor Balwan Khokhar , which listed it for hearing on September 11. Advocate Tarannum Cheema, appearing for the CBI  agreed to file a response to the petition, and said the agency will file its response on the bail plea at the date of hearing.

Khokhar, has been lodged in Tihar Jail here since his conviction by the trial court in the case in May 2013. In May 2013, a trial court found Khokhar and four other men, including a retired naval officer, guilty of murdering five members of a Sikh family in Delhi Cantonment’s Raj Nagar area on November 1, 1984 and awarded them life imprisonment. Five members of a family killed after the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

In July, the Delhi High Court asked what the state machinery was doing when the riots took place next to the cantonment.

Court to ex-IAS officer: Pay damages to former cop

A Delhi court has directed an octogenarian ex-woman IAS officer to pay Rs one lakh token damages to a retired policeman for tarnishing his reputation by giving an “unfair” report of an inquiry panel set up after 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

The court, which said the report was based upon non- existent material, held no immunity can be given to a public servant when the acts committed under the colour of office are alleged to be “mala fide, arbitrary, smacking of nepotism and malice and deliberately intended to jeopardise the professional interest of a government servant without adopting the procedure prescribed by law”.

The court directed 86-year-old former bureaucrat Kusum Lata Mittal to pay Rs one lakh damages to Chandra Prakash, then Additional Commissioner of Police (Operations).

Several committees were formed including the panel comprising Justice D K Kapur and Mittal, to inquire into the riots.

The suit for damages was filed by Prakash alleging that in a report published in a newspaper it was stated that there was a difference of approach in the procedure to be followed in conducting the inquiry since Justice Kapur was in favour of recording evidence and giving opportunity of hearing whereas Mittal wanted to base her findings on the report of Ved Marwah Committee, the previous panel.

The suit alleged that while Justice Kapur declined to indict any policeman, Mittal indicted 72 policemen including Prakash on the basis of Ved Marwah Committee and “she leaked her report to press”.

Additional District Judge Kamini Lau, deciding the suit, said, “I hereby hold that when a public servant is hounded for years, his work discredited, his reputation compromised and career destroyed, then he certainly is not without a remedy.

“All these acts are uncondonable and actionable and hence the entitlement of the plaintiff to the relief of damages/ compensation qua Mittal whose report, I hold, is unfair and based upon non-existent material.”

“There is a need for liability for private and public officials. Here is a former officer of the government who has served the nation throughout his time in the Indian police force whose life has been brought to a halt ever since the fateful 1984 riots and this case is clearly a classic case of misfeasance i.e. a willful inappropriate act or intentional incorrect act or advice which may injure a party giving rise for an actionable claim,” the court said.

Court frames defamation charge against Jagdish Tytler

Jagdish TytlerCongress leader Jagdish Tytler was on Monday put on trial by a Delhi court which framed defamation charge against him on a complaint filed by a senior advocate representing the victims in the 1984 anti-Sikh riot cases.The court issued notice under provision of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) to Mr. Tytler saying he had prime facie defamed senior lawyer H.S. Phoolka, the complainant in the matter, by allegedly making imputations to harm his reputation.

“(You)….intentionally or knowingly or having reasons to believe that imputations made by you will harm the reputation of the complainant (Phoolka) and thus thereby committed offence under section 499 of IPC punishable under section 500 of IPC,” Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Gaurav Rao said.

“Show cause why you (Tytler) should not be punished by this court for the above said offence,” the court said.

The notice was read over to Mr. Tytler to which he pleaded not guilty and claimed trial after which the court fixed the matter for recording of evidence on May 2.

Earlier, Mr. Tytler had argued in the court that there was no legally admissible evidence to frame charge against him in the defamation complaint.

Mr. Tytler’s counsel had argued that the complaint was filed by Mr. Phoolka regarding alleged defamatory statements made by the Congress leader in a TV news programme aired on September 7, 2004 and there was a long and “inordinate delay” in the proceedings of this matter.

Mr. Phoolka’s counsel, however, had countered his submissions contending that the complaint, statement of the complainant and other witnesses corroborating it, were enough to frame charge against Mr. Tytler in the matter.

In his complaint filed in 2006, Mr. Phoolka had alleged that Mr. Tytler had levelled “false and derogatory” allegations against him to harm his reputation in the society during the TV debate aired in September 2004.

The complaint against Mr. Tytler was filed in a Ludhiana court in Punjab. Later on, it was transferred to Delhi by the Supreme Court on Mr. Tytler’s plea.

The court had earlier watched the original video of the TV debate which was aired by a private news channel in both English and Hindi.

Mr. Tytler had earlier told the court that he was ready to tender “unconditional apology” to Mr. Phoolka to settle the matter as no public interest was involved in the complaint filed by an individual.

Mr. Phoolka, however, had refused to accept Mr. Tytler’s offer, saying “any compromise” in a serious matter like this would send a wrong message to the people.

1984 anti-Sikh riots: Notice issued to CBI on Tytler’s plea

The Delhi high court on Wednesday issued notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on an appeal of Congress leader Jagdish Tytler against a trial court order reopening a case against him related to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

Justice SP Garg, seeking response from the agency, also issued notice to the complainant, Lakhwinder Kaur, and asked her to reply within four weeks. The matter was posted for September 18.

Justice Garg also declined to stay the investigation ordered by the trial court against Tytler, saying: “Only investigation was ordered and this court will not stop the investigation.”

On April 10, a trial court ordered that the case be reopened against Tytler and also set aside the CBI closure report, which gave the Delhi Congress leader a clean chit on the ground that there was “no evidence” against him.

Tytler, his appeal, said: “The trial court order is contrary to the Criminal Procedure Code. The method and mode of investigation by a probe agency is the absolute prerogative of the agency. It is not for the court to direct the agency about which witness should be examined by it.”

Seeking that the trial court order be quashed in the 29-year-old case, the plea said: “The settled position of law is that a direction for investigation can be given only if an offence is prima facie found to have been committed or a person’s involvement is prime facie established. But direction to investigate whether any person has committed an offence or not cannot be legally given.”

The trial court’s order came on a plea filed by riot victim Lakhwinder Kaur, who sought a further probe into the killing of three people near Gurdwara Pul Bangash in old Delhi.

Tytler is accused of instigating a mob that led to the murder of three men who had taken shelter at the gurdwara on Nov 1, 1984.

The mob attack was part of violence against Sikhs after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi on October 31 that year.

The trial court had also directed the CBI to examine witnesses and people who claimed to have information about the riots.

The court, setting aside the magisterial court order that accepted the CBI’s closure report, had 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 witnesses of the incident.”

The probe agency had sought the dismissal of the victim’s plea, saying it had established that Tytler was not present at Gurudwara Pul Bangash on November 1, 1984.

However, senior advocate H.S. Phoolka, appearing for Lakhwinder Kaur, had 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.

Tytler’s role in the killing of three men was re-investigated by the CBI after a court in December 2007 refused to accept the closure report.

The CBI claimed that Tytler was at Teen Murti House, the residence India’s first prime minister,Jawaharlal Nehru, where Indira Gandhi’s body was kept, at the time of the Pul Bangash incident.

It added that the agency had already re-investigated the case on the order of a trial court, but there was insufficient evidence against Tytler.

(Source: IANS)