Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath is likely to face fresh trouble as the Home Ministry Monday decided to reopen an investigation into seven anti-Sikh riot cases of 1984 where the accused were either acquitted or the trial closed. In one such case, it is alleged that Nath had given shelter to five accused.
After the Home Ministry’s notification became public, Delhi MLA Manjinder Singh Sirsa said the accused will tell whether Nath was directly involved in the crime or not.
“Nath was never named in the FIR registered in New Delhi’s Parliament Street police station. Five persons named as accused in the case (FIR No. 601/84) were accommodated in Nath’s residence. All these accused were discharged due to lack of evidence.
“Since the SIT will reinvestigate this case also, two witnesses will appear before the SIT where they will tell about Kamal Nath’s role in the riots,” Sirsa told news agency PTI.
The witnesses were Sanjay Suri, who now lives in England, and Mukhtiyar Singh, who is now in Patna, he said. “I have spoken to both of the witnesses and they are ready to appear before the SIT to record their statements,” he said.
Nath has always denied his involvement in the incident and had earlier said he was being targeted for political reasons. “I took oath in 1991 and later many times. There is no case, no chargesheet against me. I was even (Congress party’s) in-charge of Delhi but no one talked about it,” Nath had said after taking charge as the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh in December last year.
Nath had hit out at his critics opposing his appointment, over allegations of his involvement in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. Coincidently, he took oath on a day when senior Congress leader Sajjan Kumar was sentenced to life after being held guilty in the riot case by Delhi High Court.
The Congress leader was absolved by the Nanavati Commission over his alleged role in the riots. He had, however, stepped down as the party’s Punjab in-charge in 2016 in the wake of the accusations against him.
According to the Home Ministry notification, the SIT has taken up the discharged cases for scrutiny or preliminary enquiry. The seven anti-Sikh riot cases were registered in 1984 at police stations in Vasant Vihar, Sun Light Colony, Kalyanpuri, Parliament Street, Connaught Place, Patel Nagar and Shahdara.
Over six months after the BJP formed the government in 2014, the SIT was set up following a recommendation by the Home Ministry-appointed Justice (retd) G P Mathur committee. The three-member SIT comprises two Inspector General-rank IPS officers and a judicial officer.
The SIT has so far re-opened around 80 out of the 650 cases registered in connection with anti-Sikh riots following the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Gandhi was shot dead by her Sikh bodyguards on October 31, 1984.
(With PTI inputs)