Turning down the Central Bureau of Investigation’s request to close a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case against senior Congress leader Jagdish Tytler, a city court on Tuesday ordered the agency to further investigate the former union minister’s alleged role in it.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sanjiv Jain directed the CBI to record the statement of witness Jasbir Singh, who is currently in the US and submit a report by January 16, 2008. “I am of the opinion that the matter needs to be further investigated,” Jain said after Jasbir’s counsel Navkiran Singh submitted that the witness was willing to join the investigation.
Following the court’s directive, CBI director Vijay Shanker told reporters that despite repeated attempts by the agency, neither Singh nor his lawyer spoke to the CBI. “We had got in touch with Singh on December 3. He told us that he neither had a fax number nor an e-mail ID,” he said.
“On December 7, we issued a notice under to Singh to join investigation through his counsel Gurpatwant Singh Pannu (also based in the US) on fax and e-mail,” Shanker said, adding, “Since then, till date, there has been no response from Pannu on behalf of the witness.”The order means fresh trouble for Tytler, who was almost exonerated by the CBI.
Jasbir told HT from California: “I want the CBI to come here and examine me. I have seen members of my family being burnt alive. I am too frightened to go to Delhi. Who will guarantee protection to my life?”
Tytler welcomed the order saying this will bring out the truth. “Jasbir’s statement does not connect me with any crime. Moreover, one Suchcha Singh in whose house Jasbir claimed he stayed during the riots has filed an affidavit that she does not know anyone called Jasbir”, he said.
HT had on November 2 traced Jasbir to California. The Court also took note of an HT report wherein Jasbir had expressed his willingness to depose against Tytler.
Through his attorney in New York, Jasbir had sent a fresh affidavit to HT giving his detailed statement against Tytler. He claimed he had earlier filed two affidavits before Jain-Aggarwal Commission and Nanavati Commission making the same allegations.
Hundreds of Sikhs who lost their dear ones in the riots, including Jasbir’s parents and mother-in-law, had gathered outside the Karkardooma Court complex in east Delhi. “If not given justice this time we will be forced to get back to militancy”, said one of the youth, who lost his entire family in the massacre.
In his affidavit, Jasbir claimed to have seen Tytler inciting a mob to kill Sikhs in North Delhi’s Outram Line area after the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
The CBI said Singh could not be examined as he was settled in the US. The case was investigated by the CBI following an affidavit submitted before the Justice Nanavati commission, set up to inquire into anti-Sikh riot cases.