“CBI failed to examine key witnesses in the case”

The victims of a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case relating to the murder of three Sikh men at Gurdwara Pul Bangash on Tuesday took exception to the CBI giving a clean chit to senior Congress leader Jagdish Tytler and said the agency failed to examine key witnesses in the case.

Counsel for the victims, senior advocate H. S. Phoolka, sought further investigation into the case citing the affidavits filed by these witnesses describing in detail the rioting they saw outside the gurdwara.

He said that though the CBI sent its sleuths to the US to record the statement of a witness, these officials did not meet these witnesses, living in the US currently.

Mr. Phoolka said that though Mr. Tytler furnished an “alibi” that he was present at Teen Murti Bhavan at the time of the mob violence on November 1, 1984, a CD the CBI relied on allegedly showed three men standing with Mr. Tytler.

These men, who are public personalities, would be able to corroborate the day and time at which the function at Teen Murti Bhavan happened, the lawyer said.

Mr. Phoolka told Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Anuradha Shukla Bhardwaj that the CBI should examine the three men: Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan, senior Congress leader R. K. Dhawan, and former senior Delhi Police officer Gautam Kaul.

Mr. Phoolka completed final arguments on Tuesday in the protest petition filed by riot victim Lakhwinder Kaur -- whose husband Badal Singh was killed in the riots -- challenging the CBI’s closure report that had given a clean chit to Mr. Tytler. Two other men, Thakur Singh and Gurcharan Singh, were also killed by the mob.

“The CBI has behaved as if they have been assigned the job of only collecting the evidence in favour of accused which is actually defence evidence. The CBI has deliberately not collected any evidence to strengthen the case against Tytler,” Mr. Phoolka argued, adding that CBI should have conducted a narco-test of Tytler to test his alibi.

He also referred to an incident on November 6, 1984, when Mr. Tytler allegedly stormed into the Delhi Police Commissioner’s press conference and demanded that his men who were under arrest be released. “This happened in the presence of several journalists and one of them has given a detailed statement to PUDR and PUCL,” Mr. Phoolka said.

The CBI will reply to the victims’ contentions on February 19.

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