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SC calls for records of 199 anti-sikh riots cases closed by SIT

The Supreme Court on Friday decided to investigate the reasons for closing a large number of 1984 anti-Sikh riots cases after petitioners raised allegations of "non-transparency" in court.

In the past two years of its investigation, the SIT has closed 199 serious criminal cases in connection with the riots of a total 293 handed over to it in 2015.

The SIT, comprising two Inspector General-rank IPS officers and a judicial officer, was set up on February 12, 2015, as recommended by the Home Ministry appointed Justice (retd.) G.P. Mathur Committee.

A three-judge Bench of Justices Dipak Misra directed the Union government to produce on record all the records pertaining to the 199 cases on April 25, 2017.

This was despite Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi's protests that there was nothing opaque in the SIT's decision to close the cases. "Sixty-two of them [cases] were untraced," he submitted.

Senior advocate Arvind Datar, appearing for the petitioners drawn from riots victims, said so far only four charge sheets had been filed of the 293 cases. He submitted that no closure reports were filed in court in the 199 cases.

"We intend to focus on the 199 cases in respect of which decision was taken by the SIT to close or not launch prosecution," the court observed in its order.

The court said there was "some dispute" on whether closure reports were filed in any of the 199 cases.

Thirty-five cases were sent for preliminary enquiry, of which 28 have been completed. Seven of these are pending for consideration. Another 59 were sent for further probe, according to a recent SIT report submitted in the Supreme Court. Of these, 42 were closed and 13 are pending investigation. Only four charge sheets have been filed in the court.

A total of 3,325 people were killed in the 1984 riots in which Delhi alone accounted for 2,733 deaths, while the rest occurred in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and other States.

The Delhi Police had closed 241 cases citing lack of evidence. The Justice Nanavati Commission had recommended reopening of only four of them and the CBI acted as per the recommendation. In two of them, it filed a charge sheet and in one, five persons, including a former MLA, were convicted.

The SIT had questioned Congress leader Sajjan Kumar thrice and asked him questions about the allegations that he instigated a mob in Janakpuri on November 1, 1984, which led to the killing of Sohan Singh and his son-in-law Avtar Singh.

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Printable version | May 13, 2021 11:32:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/sc-calls-for-records-of-199-anti-sikh-riots-cases-closed-by-sit/article17639464.ece

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