July 21, 2021 4:42:03 am
A Special Investigation Team (SIT) that the state government set up in 2019 to probe cases related to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Kanpur said on Tuesday that it had completed collecting evidence in 11 cases of murder, and dacoity that occurred during the violence. The Kanpur Police had filed closure reports in all 11 cases.
Sources said evidence collection was completed about a month ago, and the agency was now waiting for instructions to file chargesheets and arrest the accused.
During its investigation, the investigators discovered the involvement of around 62 people in the cases. About a dozen of them are dead while the others, most of whom are above 70 years, have been traced. Superintendent of Police and SIT member Balendu Bhushan said some were involved in more than one case. According to an official, 11 people were involved in three cases in the city’s Govindnagar locality, while seven of the accused were involved in two cases in Naubasta.
“The investigations in the 11 cases are in an advanced stage. The pieces of evidence collected are being analysed by officers and then further steps will be taken,” said former UP Director General of Police Atul who is heading the SIT.
The investigators would have to examine the legal aspects of the cases, and seek opinions from legal experts, he added.
As part of their inquiries, SIT officials travelled to several states such as Haryana, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh to meet witnesses and record their statements. These witnesses had moved out of Kanpur after the riots. The SIT got the statements of 10 prime witnesses recorded before a magistrate.
The agency also studied 135 affidavits submitted to the Ranganath Mishra Commission in connection with the violence in Kanpur. The Congress government at the Centre had set up the commission in 1986 to investigate the riots in Delhi, Bokaro, and Kanpur. The SIT collected photocopies of the affidavits after obtaining permission Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
“During the probe, the SIT also met people who filed affidavits, and recorded their statement,” said an officer.
At least 127 people died in the violence in Kanpur that erupted following the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The SIT, formed in 2019, examined all 1,251 cases filed in connection with the Kanpur riots, and shortlisted 40 cases, including 11 cases in which chargesheets were filed. The police filed closure reports in the rest, citing lack of evidence. Of the cases in which chargesheets were registered, the SIT has advised the state government to file appeals in five. The matter is still pending with the government.
The SIT is planning to question people from whose possession the Kanpur Police had recovered “robbed items”. The investigators have collected a list of such names from a local police station.
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