There is overwhelming circumstantial evidence to show that Delhi Police personnel were “silent spectators”, “abettors” or “perpetrators” in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, the CBI has told the Delhi High Court.
“Circumstances really speak louder than words. It has rightly been said that while men may lie, circumstances do not. In the present case, overwhelming circumstantial evidence has come on record to establish that Delhi Police personnel in uniform were either silent spectators to the crime or abettors or even the perpetrators,” the CBI stated in a written submission before a bench of Justice S Muralidhar and Justice Vinod Goel.
“The immoral and illegal role of police did not even come to an end when the riots subsided. Even after the registration of a few cases, the investigating agency resorted to sabotage and subversion of their statutory duty,” the CBI said.
It alleged that police investigators acted “as protectors of the culprits and abused their statutory functions and powers to destroy the few cases that somehow came to be registered”.
The CBI’s submission came during a hearing of its appeal against Congress leader Sajjan Kumar’s acquittal five years ago in the murder of five persons in the Raj Nagar area of Delhi Cantonment during the riots on November 1, 1984. In this case, former Congress councillor Balwan Khokhar, retired naval officer Captain Bhagmal and three others were held guilty.
The CBI sought enhancement of Kumar’s sentence and opposed a plea against the court’s verdict by those who were convicted.
Referring to an eyewitness — Jagdish Kaur, 78 — the CBI advocates D P Singh and Tarannum Cheema, who filed the submission, said the trial court’s order rejecting her testimony on Kumar’s role is contrary to evidence on record and surrounding circumstances.
“The prosecution witnesses are not even remotely biased or inimically disposed. Most of them are simple persons of ordinary means, who suffered toil for a lifetime to put together the bits and pieces of their shattered lives. Their stories are full of pain but true,” the agency said.
Kaur and Nirpreet Kaur, who are the CBI’s two prime witnesses, lost their close relatives in the riots following the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi. They have contended that the trial court failed to appreciate that there was ample evidence to show that Kumar had allegedly “engineered” the murders of the five persons in the case.
Their appeals are pending in the High Court since 2013 and one round of arguments on behalf of both parties are already over.
On Tuesday, a new bench, which has started hearing the arguments afresh, got annoyed over the defence’s contention that they were not ready. “It is not acceptable that the advocates are not ready with their arguments in such an important case,” the bench said. The hearings will resume Wednesday.