BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on Friday asked the Delhi high court for a re-trial of the 1987 Hashimpura massacre, which claimed 42 lives, alleging that presence of then minister of state for home P Chidambaram at the place right after incident was not examined.
He also alleged before the court that there were “gaps in the probe including destruction of evidence” and said that he would show that international laws would apply to the case.
A bench of justices G S Sistani and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal, however, said that “what was left out cannot be added, unless we go for a re-trial” and asked Swamy, the State of Uttar Pradesh and other parties in the case “to take a call whether you want a re-trial or an appeal”.
The court, thereafter, listed Swamy’s plea, seeking further probe to ascertain the alleged role of Chidambaram in the incident, for hearing on August 4 along with the petitions moved by National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and kin of the victims challenging acquittal of the 16 former Provincial Armed Constabulary personnel who were accused in the case.
On NHRC’s application for enforcement of the trial court order awarding compensation to kin of some of the victims of the massacre, the bench today sought response of Uttar Pradesh legal services authority after DSLSA said that crime occurred in that state.
Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA) also said that the victims belonged to the state and the accused were police officers of UP and added that its funds were “limited” and “meant for people of Delhi”.
The court asked advocate Vrinda Grover, appearing for NHRC, to give by June 1 a rough computation of the total compensation payable, saying this amount would be put to the UP authority to be paid. “Let them pay it under protest,” the bench said.
The NHRC, in its application, has sought enforcement of the trial court’s order to pay compensation to kin of some of the victims under section 357A of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) which provides for payment of compensation to the victims even on acquittal of the accused.
On March 21 last year, a trial court gave the benefit of doubt and acquitted 16 former Provincial Armed Constabulary personnel accused of killing 42 people in Meerut in 1987, saying lack of evidence has failed to establish their identification.
In its main petition, NHRC has sought further probe into the massacre in Hashimpura locality of Meerut. Prior to NHRC, UP government as well as survivors and kin of the victims had moved the court challenging the acquittal of these policemen.
In his plea, Swamy has also challenged the trial court’s March 8, 2013 decision dismissing his plea against Chidambaram who was the Minister between 1986 and 1989.
Swamy has sought further probe saying, “It was admitted on the floor of Parliament by the then minister of state for home affairs P Chidambaram that the situation was calm on May 19 to May 22, 1987.
“Yet the trial judge states it was violent strife. Hence, even at this late stage, an investigation into this issue is essential for complete justice.”