1984 riots: Statement of key witness removed, CBI tells Delhi High Court

The agency, which was handed over the investigation into the riots cases in October 2005, submitted that Jagdish Kaur “emerges as a woman with grit and courage”.

Written by Pritam Pal Singh | New Delhi | Published: September 14, 2018 3:29:07 am
Delhi High Court. Delhi High Court.

The CBI has told the Delhi High Court that Delhi Police deliberately removed the statement of Jagdish Kaur (78), the prime witness in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, from their records — the presence of which could have led to “heads rolling”.

The agency, which was handed over the investigation into the riots cases in October 2005, submitted that Kaur “emerges as a woman with grit and courage”.

“She repeatedly went to the police to lodge a statement in the midst of grave and imminent threat to her life. She dared to come in the open, many times in the thick of the mob, and exposed herself to apparent risk. She is the only person who mustered courage to perform the funeral rites of her husband and young son on a funeral pyre made of broken and vandalised home articles, lit by herself,” the CBI said in a written submission to a bench of Justice S Muralidhar and Justice Vinod Goel.

Referring to Kaur’s statement before the Delhi Police on November 3, 1984, the CBI said “the same could not be traced and has been removed from the record for some extraneous consideration”. It added that statements made on January 20, 1985, to the then sub-inspector of the Palam police post, and before the riot inspector on December 12, 1992, are also missing.

Kaur had lodged a complaint with police on the killing of her husband, son and three brothers following the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984.

Citing the CBI submission, Girdhari Lal, who was convicted in connection with the murders, has submitted that he be given the benefit of doubt.

Apart from Lal, former Congress councillor Balwan Khokhar, retired naval officer Captain Bhagmal, and two others were held guilty. Congress leader Sajjan Kumar was acquitted five years ago in the case. The CBI, however, sought enhancement of Kumar’s sentence and opposed a plea against the court’s verdict by those who were convicted.
The agency said that during the trial, the Delhi Police counsel had admitted to the existence of Kaur’s complaint. As per the prosecutor, it was also part of the FIR lodged by police.

“This is a document of great evidentiary value and truly mirrors the conduct of local police. In the entire register pertaining to the relevant period, not a single report of any untoward incident has been recorded… In an area where large number of persons died within three days… such designed silence of the daily diary report is shockingly revealing…,” said the CBI’s submission.

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