Court rejects Sajjan plea to drop witnesses

CBI refused to name the witnesses for security reasons. It said their names would be revealed a few days before their testimony.

Written by D K RITURAJ | New Delhi | Published: December 12, 2013 1:12:30 am

In another blow for former Congress MP Sajjan Kumar who is standing trial in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case,a city court on Wednesday dismissed his plea to drop prosecution witnesses and schedules dates for recording evidence.

Additional District Judge J R Aryan set aside Kumar’s plea that nine of 12 prosecution witnesses to be produced by the CBI be dropped. The plea was dismissed on the ground that it was the discretion of the CBI to decide which prosecution witnesses it would produce to support its case.

The court further fixed dates in January for recording the testimony of the prosecution witnesses.

Wednesday’s order comes in quick succession to the Supreme Court verdict on December 3 rejecting Sajjan Kumar’s plea for quashing of charges against him in the case regarding the riots in Sultanpuri area.

The CBI refused to divulge the names of the witnesses for security reasons. It said the names of the witnesses would be revealed only a few days prior to their testimony.

Kumar had submitted his plea on August 13 arguing that the witnesses were “irrelevant” and “not connected” to the case against him.

According to the defence,CBI had filed a consolidated chargesheet against Kumar and three others — Peru,Brahmanand Gupta and Ved Prakash — who had been named in three separate FIRs on charges of murder and rioting after the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

These FIRs were related to a case in Sultanpuri,where at least 49 people had died,and a case for the murder of six persons had been registered.

However,the CBI,for “technical reasons”,was not pressing charges for the killing of the six persons in the current trial,but was trying the accused for the death of one person,Surjit Singh,in the Sultanpuri area.

“When the subject matter before the court does not relate to the killing of six persons,then how can the witnesses specified for that case depose in the present matter?” A K Sharma,defence counsel in the case had said,while requesting that the witnesses be dropped.

The prosecution refuted the defence arguments on the ground that charges in the case were collectively framed,under one common challan,for which the three cases could not be separated.

Further,they said,it was for the prosecution to decide which witnesses were relevant or irrelevant to the case.

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