The Union Home Ministry on Thursday announced a three-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) for re-investigation of the 1984 anti-Sikh riot cases, mainly in Delhi and other States.
“The newly-constituted SIT has been empowered to examine afresh evidence in cases which had even been closed,” said a senior Home Ministry official, referring to its terms and references. The notification setting up the SIT was issued by the Home Ministry on Thursday night.
The SIT will look into all serious criminal cases relating to the riots, examine evidence and even re-open cases and file charge sheets in the courts concerned, the official said. It has been given six months to complete its work, including filing of charge sheets in nearly three-decade old cases.
The SIT will be headed by Pramod Asthana, an IPS officer of 1986 batch. It will have Rakesh Kapoor, a retired district and sessions judge and Kumar Gyanesh, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police in Delhi Police as members.
As the BJP-led NDA government’s move to set up SIT into 1984 anti-Sikh riots was announced at a time when polls to the Delhi Assembly were to be held, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which swept the elections, had earlier this month termed it as a “poll gimmick” by the BJP.
The constitution of a SIT for re-investigation of the riot cases was recommended by a government-appointed committee.
The committee headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice (retd) G.P. Mathur had submitted its report to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh last month, recommending a fresh probe of such cases. Anti-Sikh riots had erupted in the Capital and northern States in the aftermath of the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984 at the hands of her security guards at her official residence.
The government had recently provided additional Rs. 5 lakh compensation to the kin of Sikhs killed in the 1984 riots, which claimed 3,325 persons.
Delhi alone accounted for 2,733 and the rest were killed in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and other States.