SIT probing anti-Sikh riots to reopen cases

Flare­up: Many vehicles were set on fire in the areas inhabited by the Sikhs in Delhi in November 1984.   | Photo Credit: N. Srinivasan

The Union Home Ministry has expanded the ambit of the probe into the 1984 anti-Sikh riots cases by enabling the Special Investigation Team (SIT) to reopen investigations in all the cases in which trial had been completed and the accused were discharged.

A senior official said the SIT is examining the number of such cases that will be reinvestigated and sent for trial again.

On legal opinion

“We sought legal opinion and concluded that such cases pertaining to the 1984 Sikh riots, in which the accused were discharged or acquitted, could also be investigated again. The SIT is compiling the list,” said the official.

A year after the BJP came to power in 2014, the Home Ministry announced a three-member SIT for re-investigation of the anti-Sikh riot cases, mainly in Delhi. Its mandate was to “re-investigate the appropriately serious criminal cases which were filed in the National Capital Territory of Delhi in connection with the 1984 riots and have since been closed.”

It was also asked to file fresh chargesheets if evidence was available.

The SIT secured its first conviction in November 2018, when a Delhi court awarded death sentence to one of the accused and life imprisonment to another accused for killing two Sikh men — Hardev Singh, 24, and Avtar Singh, 26, in Mahipalpur. The case had been closed by Delhi Police in 1994 for lack of evidence.

Scope widened

The MHA has since increased the scope of investigations after it received a representation from the Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee (DSGMC).

“Looking at the seriousness of criminal cases relating to 1984 riots cases, the competent authority has decided that the SIT may also investigate/ further investigate/ re-investigate the appropriately serious cases, which have been closed on account of the discharge of the accused, if any, on fresh evidence/facts coming to light,” the MHA said in an order.

The term of the SIT is to end on July 31.

Kamal Nath case

General Secretary of DSGMC Manjinder Singh Sirsa claimed the notification could put senior Congress leader and Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath in the dock. Mr. Nath was a senior Congress leader then.

“Kamal Nath’s name was never included registered in the FIR number 601/84 that was registered at Parliament Street police station. Police never investigated him. The five accused persons named in the said FIR were accommodated in the official residence of Kamal Nath then. All of them were discharged due to lack of evidence. The SIT will investigate this case also,” Mr. Sirsa claimed.

In December 2018, the Supreme Court had appointed another SIT headed by Justice (retd) S.N. Dhingra to further probe 186 cases pertaining to Sikh riots.

On January 10, the Dhingra committee sought information from the public regarding 84 cases filed in Delhi from the years 1984-1987 that had earlier been closed.

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Printable version | May 15, 2021 4:52:06 PM |

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