Anti-Sikh riots: HC directs police to continue providing security to witness Verma till CBI clears stand
The Delhi High Court has directed the police to continue providing security to controversial arms dealer Abhishek Verma, a witness in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, till the CBI informs that it does not require him any further.
The high court was informed by the CBI that the investigation in the case is still going on and they are not in a position to make a statement if Verma, who was receiving threats, is required as a witness or not.
“In the circumstances, without getting into the merits of the case and without prejudice to the rights and contentions of the parties, the security cover be extended till the CBI informs the Delhi Police that they do not require the petitioner (Verma) as their witness. This concession is given in view of the reason, also mentioned in my order dated September 28,” Justice Yogesh Khanna said on Thursday.
On the court’s direction, Verma and his family members have been provided with three security personnel round the clock.
Advocates Maninder Singh and Dinhar Takiar, representing Verma, submitted that he be provided security at least till his statement is recorded in the case.
Delhi government standing counsel (criminal) Rahul Mehra and advocate Chaitanya Gosain read out the affidavit filed by the state in which the necessity of providing the security cover to Verma was mentioned but only till the polygraph test was conducted on him. Polygraph test has already been conducted on him in December 2018.
The counsel further submitted that on assessment of the threat perception by the Deputy Commissioner of Police, he was not inclined to continue the security cover given to Verma and said that the CBI should file a reply if he is required as a witness in this case. The court noted that it was an admitted fact that the Witness Protection Committee has not recommended for security cover.
While Congress leader Jagdish Tytler, who has been given clean chit thrice by the CBI, has refused to undergo the test, Verma had given conditional consent saying he is ready to undergo the test if he was provided round-the-clock security as he feared threat to his life.
The court had earlier said the submission of Verma’s counsel that his presence may be required at the time of trial cannot be brushed aside lightly and also noted that it has been the CBI’s claim that he is an important witness.
Verma had sought direction to the authorities to continue to provide security to him nd his family in view of the imminent threat to life and property of them, if he does not withdraw himself from being a witness in the riots case and also for undergoing polygraph test (lie detection test).
Verma was first provided security in 2017.
The counsel told the high court that Verma’s lie detection test was conducted for three days from December 4 to 6, 2018 and the next day he received a threat again.
The petition said that on December 20, 2019 an open threat letter was received by the CMM giving threat to the presiding officer and the counsel for the Complainant and the witnesses of the case.
The case pertains to the riots at Gurudwara Pulbangash in North Delhi where three people were killed on November 1, 1984, a day after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards.
Tytler, who has denied any role in the riots, was thrice given clean chit by the CBI in the case, but the agency was directed by the court to further investigate the matter. The victims had filed a protest petition challenging the CBI’s closure reports in the case.
The agency had reinvestigated the case of killing of Badal Singh, Thakur Singh and Gurcharan Singh near the gurudwara after a court in December 2007 refused to accept its closure report.