A special court on Thursday questioned the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for giving a clean chit to former union minister and Congress MP Jagdish Tytler in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in which nearly 3,000 Sikhs were killed.
It directed the agency to continue the probe and asked it to file its reply by Nov 29.
The agency had last month filed a closure report citing lack of evidence against the Congress leader. It had said that witnesses in this case were not available - as either they are dead or did not want to testify - to support its charges against Tytler.
However, the Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), a 'mini parliament' of the Sikh community, filed an appeal in the court questioning the CBI's decision even as thousands of Sikhs protested the agency's move.
While hearing the petition, the court told the CBI that it cannot give a clean chit without its having heard accounts of the victims.
A senior CBI official told IANS later that the agency was awaiting a copy of the court directions and will take action accordingly.
However, CBI sources said that the agency might again file a closure report due to lack of evidence.
Tytler was facing the charge of inciting people to violence on Nov 3, 1984, after the assassination of prime minister Indira Gandhi.
Some 3,000 Sikhs were killed in the riots and thousands were injured. No reliable estimates are available on the damage to property but this is believed to run into billions of rupees.
The government had on Dec 29, 2006 announced a Rs 7.14-billion package for the victims to cover deaths, injuries and loss of property.
Last year, the central government had directed the CBI to reopen cases against Congress leaders Tytler, Sajjan Kumar and Dharam Das Shastri who were named by the Nanavati Commission for their role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
In his two-volume report on the riots, Justice GT Nanavati had observed that there was "credible evidence against Tytler to the effect that he probably had a hand in organising attacks on Sikhs".
Till now only 25 people have been convicted for the carnage. Among them is Kishori Lal, known as the "butcher of Trilokpuri" (the worst affected area of Delhi), who was sentenced to death seven times by the lower courts. The Supreme Court commuted them into life terms.
As many as 253 people were acquitted and 241 remained untraced. Investigations are pending against one and 42 are awaiting trial. Cases were withdrawn against three people and 11 first information reports were quashed.