The CBI on Tuesday informed a Delhi court that the lie detection test on controversial arms dealer Abhishek Verma, a witness in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, will be conducted in New Delhi from October 3 to 6. The CBI submitted before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Amit Arora that the government-run forensic science laboratory in Rohini here has confirmed the dates to conduct the test.
However, senior advocate H S Phoolka, representing riot victims, argued that the probe agency was delaying the matter by not recording the statement of witnesses in the case and trying to shield the accused.
The court put up the matter for hearing on October 30 when the CBI will also provide a status report on the test. While Congress leader Jagdish Tytler, who has been given clean chit thrice by the CBI, had refused to undergo the test, Verma had given conditional consent saying he is ready to undergo the test if provided with round-the-clock security as he feared threat to his life.
The court had on August 2 asked the CBI to conduct lie detection test on Verma after the CBI’s investigating officer (IO) informed it about the places where the test facilities were available. The IO had said in the report that while lie detection test facilities were available at FSL, Rohini, requisite provisions were not available at the AIIMS or the Safdarjung Hospital here.
The court had also said that after the test is conducted, the IO shall inform the concerned DCP to reassess the threat perception of Verma, who has been provided round-the-clock security till he undergoes the test.
Earlier, Phoolka had said the IO should be directed to record before a magistrate statements of witnesses who are aged over 80 years. To this, the IO had said it was the prerogative of the probe agency to decide when it wants to record the statements of the witnesses. This was opposed by Phoolka who said it cannot be the prerogative of the agency as the probe in the case is being monitored by the court.
The CBI’s move seeking permission to conduct the polygraph test on Tytler and Verma came after the court’s December 4, 2015 order in which it was mentioned that such a test may be conducted, if required. The case pertains to the riots at Gurudwara Pulbangash in North Delhi where three people were killed on November 1, 1984, a day after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Tytler, who has denied any role in the riots, was thrice given a clean chit by the CBI in the case, but the agency was directed by the court to further investigate the matter. The victims had filed a protest petition challenging the CBI’s closure reports in the case. The court had on December 2015 directed the CBI to further investigate the matter and decided to monitor it every two months to ensure no aspect was left uninvestigated.
The agency had reinvestigated the case of killing of Badal Singh, Thakur Singh and Gurcharan Singh near the gurudwara after a court in December 2007 refused to accept its closure report. The CBI has filed three closure reports in the case.