Senior Congress leader Kamal Nath, who quit as in-charge of party affairs in Punjab over his alleged role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, has vehemently proclaimed his innocence and said he is ready for any probe, including by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
“There has been SIT (Special Investigation Team) probe, the (Ranganath) Misra Commission inquiry, (G T) Nanavati Commission inquiry. I am ready to face any other probe, including that of the CBI ,” Nath said in an interview to ‘India Today’ news channel.
“There was no mention of my name (in the anti-Sikh riots) for many years... no statement from any quarter or any individual accusing me of involvement... then someone approached the Nanavati Commission to probe my role. The commission exonerated me of all charges,” Nath added.
The G T Nanavati Commission was set up by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in 2000 to inquire into the 1984 anti-Sikh violence that broke out in Delhi after the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination by her Sikh bodyguards on October 31, 1984.
On the charges levelled against him by senior lawyer and Aam Aadmi Party leader H S Phoolka, Nath said: “Where was Phoolka all these years? Why did he not file an FIR or a case against me? Why is he making the allegations now, despite the Nanavati Commission exonerating me of all charges?”
The Congress leader elected to the Lok Sabha from Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh said it was his own decision to quit as in-charge of the party affairs in Punjab and nobody asked him to.
“It was my own decision to quit in the party’s interest. I did not want this inconsequential issue (of his alleged involvement in the anti-Sikh violence) to overshadow more important and relevant issues in Punjab today.”
Nath said, “The real issues in Punjab are misgovernance, drug menace, the flight of youth from the state for lack of opportunities and employment, et al. I resigned as Punjab in-charge lest public attention was diverted from these issues.”
On his presence outside Delhi Gurudwara Rakabganj on November 1, 1984, Nath said he has never denied it.
“I was present there because I was asked by my party to reach there. There was a mob outside the gurudwara. I tried to stop them from attacking it. The police had requested me to control the mob till their reinforcements arrived,” the Congress leader maintained.
The opposition has, on the contrary, accused Nath of instigating the mob outside the gurudwara.