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CBI gives Tytler clean chit in 1984 riots case

Congress leader Jagdish Tytler,who is contesting the Lok Sabha polls as the party candidate from North-East Delhi...

Congress leader Jagdish Tytler,who is contesting the Lok Sabha polls as the party candidate from North-East Delhi,today got a clean chit from the CBI in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case after the probe agency found no “incriminating evidence” of his involvement.

In its final investigation report,the CBI requested Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Rakesh Pandit to drop prosecution proceedings against the Congress leader. With the CBI counsel confirming that the final report had been submitted as a cancellation report,the ACMM put it up for consideration on April 9 — that’s when a decision will be taken on the report.

Reacting to the CBI move,Tytler said the outcome of the probe was nothing beyond his expectation because he was “innocent” and the accusations against him were “false”. “I just want this chapter to close. I have suffered a lot because of the false averments and I wish the court puts an end to it,” he said.

The cancellation report contains analytical examination of the statement of Jasbir Singh,a California-based witness who,in an affidavit before the Nanavati Commission,claimed to have heard Tytler making a comment on the “nominal” killing of Sikhs in his erstwhile constituency (Delhi Sadar) on the night of November 3,1984. A mob had set fire to Gurdwara Pulbangash,killing three persons on November 1 in the riots that followed the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

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Jasbir’s testimony has been dubbed as “inconsistent,unreliable and unworthy of credit” by the CBI in its report. “Yes,Jasbir Singh’s statement was not worth lending credence to and was replete with discrepancies,” CBI counsel Sanjay Kumar confirmed to The Indian Express.

The report claims that the statement of another witness,Surender Singh,could also not connect Tytler to the alleged acts. “A cancellation report is filed only when there is nothing incriminating and that is why we have filed the final report in the form of a cancellation report,” the CBI counsel said.

Submitted on March 28 following a re-investigation ordered by the court,the CBI report also discusses Tytler’s movements on the date of the incident to verify the claim that he was near the Kingsway Camp on November 3,1984. Among others,the CBI also recorded the statement of Tytler’s driver. The probe could not zero-in on any eyewitness of the incident allegedly involving Tytler,the report stated.

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The CBI said this was one of the seven cases relating to the anti-Sikh riots taken up on the request of the Centre,which had handed it the investigation after examining the Justice Nanavati Commission inquiry report,submitted on February 9,2005. The court proceedings today saw H S Phoolka,counsel for the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee,raising objections over the alleged leak of the report even before the court had taken note of it. “This is direct evidence of the CBI acting hand-in-glove with the accused (Tytler). Otherwise,how would he get to know the details of the report even before the judge could open it?” Phoolka said in court.

Phoolka’s request to let him inspect the final report was objected to by the CBI counsel who said it was not appropriate at this stage since the court had not gone through the document. Moreover,Phoolka,he said,had no legal standing to examine the document as he was not the complainant.

Following an argument,ACMM Pandit asked Phoolka to wait till April 9 so that the court could form an opinion about the report and on who could be treated as the complainant in the case for legal purposes. Drawing a parallel with the Uphaar fire tragedy case where the victim’s families formed a group and led as complainant,ACMM Pandit said that identifying the complainant was a must because if the court decided to accept the CBI’s report,it would have to give an opportunity to the complainant to raise objections against the report.

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This was the CBI’s second clean-chit to Tytler. On September 29,2007,the CBI had sought to close the case against him,claiming there was no evidence of his involvement. The case against Tytler was registered by the CBI on the directions of the Nanavati Commission,before whom Jasbir Singh had deposed against Tytler. The CBI,which had given Tytler the all-clear after it could not trace Jasbir Singh,later sent officials to the US to record the statements of ten witnesses,including Singh.

First published on: 03-04-2009 at 02:30:29 am
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