1984 riots: CBI seeks time to reply to Sajjan Kumar

CBI sought time from Delhi court for filing response on plea by Congress` Sajjan Kumar and 3 accused seeking removal of agency`s 9 witnesses, claiming they were "irrelevant" in 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

Updated: Sep 02, 2013, 18:52 PM IST

New Delhi: The CBI on Monday sought time from a Delhi court for filing response on a plea by Congress leader Sajjan Kumar and three other accused seeking removal of agency`s nine witnesses, claiming that they were "irrelevant" in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.
District Judge J R Aryan asked the CBI to file its reply on September 30 on the application of the accused and fixed it for arguments on the same day.

The court also fixed September 30 for CBI`s reply on another plea of the accused seeking to summon records of the two other riots related cases which have already been decided.

CBI Prosecutor D P Singh told the court that they require more time as they have to see files of the old cases which have been decided by other courts long back. He said they have not been able to see the files as yet.

The court had earlier framed various charges including murder and rioting against Kumar, Brahmanand Gupta, Peru, Khushal Singh and Ved Prakash in connection with killing of a man in Sultanpuri area in the riots that had occurred after the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984. Accused Khushal Singh has died.

The CBI had earlier said though the charge sheet pertains to killing of six persons but it was only restricting the charge relating to murder of Surjit Singh and not of other deceased in respect of whom the trial had already taken place.

Kumar`s counsel said in the plea that CBI had filed a consolidated charge sheet of three separate FIRs and the nine prosecution witnesses, who are not related to the murder of victim Surjit Singh, should be removed.

He said three separate FIRs were registered for the murder of six persons but if CBI was restricting its case to only one murder, then the witnesses who are not related to this murder should be removed.

Earlier, CBI had orally opposed the plea saying it is for the agency to decide who are relevant or irrelevant witnesses and whom they want to remove.

The court is yet to fix a date for beginning the trial by recording statements of prosecution witnesses.

In the other application, the accused sought summoning
of judicial records of two riot cases of Sultanpuri area which were decided in 2002 and 2003 as some of the witnesses of this case had also deposed during those trials.

Kumar was not an accused in both the cases which had resulted in acquittal of others.

In July 2010, the trial court had framed charges against Kumar, Brahmanand Gupta, Peru, Khushal Singh and Ved Prakash in connection with the case of killing of Surjit Singh in Sultanpuri here.

Besides charges of murder and rioting, the trial court had also framed charges for the offence of spreading enmity between two communities against the accused in the case.

Senior advocate H S Phoolka, appearing for the victims, had earlier sought security for the witnesses so that they can give statements without any threat or fear and their testimony remains "uninfluenced, unbiased and factual".

To this plea, the court had asked the CBI to ensure that the witnesses appear fearlessly for their deposition.

CBI had filed two charge sheets against Kumar and others in January 2010 in the riots cases registered in 2005 on the recommendation of Justice G T Nanavati Commission which had probed the sequence of events leading to the violence.