November 3, 2017 1:45:17 am
A Special court has framed charges against two accused and started trial in an 1984 anti-Sikh riots case. The chargesheet in the case was filed by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) — constituted in 2015 to re-investigate “serious criminal cases” filed in Delhi after the anti-Sikh riots, and had since been closed.
The case dates back to October 31, 1984, when Avtar Singh and Hardev Singh were allegedly murdered in Mahipalpur following the assassination of then PM Indira Gandhi. Court records reveal that a mob comprising 500 people, including the present accused, allegedly burnt shops and looted people in the area.
Special Judge Ajay Pandey said there was prima facie “sufficient material” on record to frame charges against the accused — Naresh Sehrawat
and Yashpal Singh — for murder and rioting. However, after the incident, a case was registered at Mehrauli police station in 1984. Following investigation, a chargesheet was filed against one accused, who was, however, acquitted by an Additional Sessions Judge.
Later, when the Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission was constituted, a “first informant”, Santokh Singh, filed an affidavit stating that 500 people looted Mahipalpur in 1984. Based on his affidavit, another FIR was registered in 1993, and an ACP-rank officer filed an “untrace report” in court. The Metropolitan Magistrate, however, said, “Police were at liberty to file challan as and when accused persons were arrested.” The SIT filed a chargesheet in the case in 2017.
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During arguments in the case, the counsel for the accused submitted that the case was thoroughly investigated in 1984 by an ACP-rank officer and that witnesses referred in the chargesheet had already been examined. “….Thereafter, respective testimonies have been appreciated by the then Additional Sessions Judge, who found the same untrustworthy… also the ACP had recorded the statements of the witnesses cited in the present chargesheet… and they could not identify the assailants,” the defence counsel submitted in court.
Judge Ajay Pandey said even though the FIR was registered on the basis of Santokh Singh’s affidavit, later, statements of witnesses have been recorded. Those statements, he said, have categorically indicated the involvement of the accused in the case.
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