A Delhi court on Wednesday set aside a CBI closure report clearing Congress leader Jagdish Tytler in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case and ordered further investigation against him.
Acting on a riot victim’s plea, additional sessions judge Anuradha Shukla Bhardwaj reversed a magistrate court’s acceptance of the closure report and directed the CBI to examine eyewitnesses and people claiming to have information about the riots.
“We understand the CBI reserves its right to conclude these witnesses were planted and not truthworthy and to file a closure report giving its opinion. However, it did not have the right to have not recorded the witnesses’ statements and, thus, to have prevented the court from forming its own opinion regarding the reliability of these witnesses,” the court said.
This is the second time the court has rejected the CBI’s closure report against Tytler. The first time was in December 2007.
The CBI will study the order and decide on future course of action, a spokesperson said.
Tytler is accused of instigating a mob that killed three men who had taken shelter in a north Delhi gurdwara during the riots, which left over 3,000 members of the community dead in the aftermath of Indira Gandhi’s assassination. He could not be reached for comments.
Lakhwinder Kaur, wife of one of the deceased, had challenged the closure report, claiming the CBI did not record the testimonies of some eyewitnesses who had moved to the US after the riots.
The CBI had sought dismissal of her plea saying the probe showed Tytler was at the PM’s residence and not at the gurdwara when the killings took place on November 1, 1984.
One of the witnesses, Jasbir (now living in California), had claimed in an affidavit before the Nanavati panel that he had heard Tytler on November 3, 1984 rebuking his men for the “nominal killings”. The magistrate court had rejected his version, saying he had deposed for something that took place on November 3 and not November 1.
But on Wednesday, the sessions court said the CBI had an “obligation” to record the statements of the US-based persons, placed at the spot by an eyewitness.
“Whoever killed my husband must be punished… this order is a ray of hope for us," Kaur said.
For the 69-year-old Tytler, the order, which comes months before general elections, virtually signals the end of his political career. The former union minister was forced to quit the Manmohan Singh government in August 2005 following his indictment by the Nanavati commission that inquired into the riots.
Another city court has reserved its verdict against Tytler’s party colleague Sajjan Kumar, who faced trial for allegedly inciting a mob against Sikhs in Delhi Cantonment. The verdict is expected next week.