A day after a Delhi court reprimanded the CBI for not recording the statements of at least three such witnesses who were willing to give their testimonies to the investigating agency, Hindustan Times tracked down a US-based witness in the Jagdish Tytler case.
California-based Resham Singh said he made several attempts to meet the CBI team that visited America in 2008. In a sworn affidavit recorded by a notary, Singh, who drove a taxi in Delhi, said that on November 1, 1984, when he was passing by Gurdwara Pulbangash in Delhi’s walled city, he saw “smoke coming out of the building. Outside it, a mob led by Congress party leader Jagdish Tytler was allegedly chanting slogans ‘khoon ka badla khoon’, Singh said.
“When I got closer, I saw and heard Tytler instigating and screaming at the mob and pointing towards the Gurdwara and ordering them to go and get the Sikhs hiding inside.”
In the order seeking a reinvestigation into the charges against Tytler, a city court castigated the CBI for returning from America without speaking with the witnesses who were willing to testify.
Resham Singh, one of these witnesses, said that in December 2008, he signed an affidavit and contacted a US-based attorney representing an advocacy group, Sikhs for Justice, affirming his willingness to testify in the Tytler case.
Resham said that the US-based attorney, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, contacted the CBI and that he personally travelled to New York from California and waited outside the Indian Consulate in New York where the CBI team was present.
According to Resham, he was assured that his statement would be recorded by the CBI team in California, but was not done so even after he went to the Indian Consulate in San Francisco. “Despite my best efforts, the CBI team failed to record my statement,’’ said Resham in his affidavit.
When contacted by HT, Tytler said, “These witnesses have not come forth with any testimony before the Nanavati Commission. The CBI will have to record their statements now and then we will see. There is a law of the land.’’
Tytler questioned Resham Singh for speaking up only now. But in the court order on Wednesday, the judge clearly said, “The CBI did not have any right to have not recorded the statements of these witnesses and thus to have prevented the court from forming its own opinion regarding the reliability of these witnesses.”
Asked why witnesses who have never complained about Tytler in the past now want to testify, HS Phoolka, lawyer for the witnesses said: “They did not have the confidence to approach the police because they were shielding the Congress leaders.”