1984 Sikh riots case: Court questions CBI attitude on Jagdish Tytler

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By Sanjeeb Kumar

Abhishek Verma had said that many a times Jagdish Tytler has confessed in-front of me that managing to dodge the CBI and manipulate the witnesses had not been easy for him however he managed the same with political support during Congress regime. When asked if ever Tytler influenced witnesses, Verma had also said Tytler had also manipulated the probe agency and witnesses till recently.

While hearing case Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Harjyot Singh Bhalla said that I am considerate of the view that the polygraph test of witness Verma could not be conducted for three years. I am surprised that CBI could not manage conducting a polygraph test on an important witness for three years.

The court will now hear this matter on December 20, 2019

Billionaire Verma is the main witness in a CBI case pertaining to killing of three Sikhs- Badal Singh, Thakur Singh and Gurcharan Singh – at Gurudwara Pulbangash in North Delhi on November 1, 1984, a day after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.After the assassination of Indira on October 31, 1984, anti-Sikh riots erupted in some areas for several days, killing more than 3,000 Sikhs in New Delhi and an estimated 8,000 across India.

“Immediately before the test was conducted on the witness Verma moved an application for enhancement of security. I am surprised that the investigation agency does not seem to be concerned that the key witness received a written threat immediately before the polygraph test. Of course, there is little regard for the court’s order,” Chief Metropolitan Magistrate said in his order.

The last year, Verma had received four-pages threat letter through registered post from the local post office. He was warned not to proceed further with his polygraph test, in the threat letter. The letter which written in Hindi, threatened to blow him up with a bomb and also to eliminate his family.

“I would next want to know from the investigating officer that considering that the witness was threated while he was already under police protection, is it not possible for other witnesses to feel insecure? Why is it that even though 35 years have elapsed since the incident and many a times directions for further investigation have been passed and witnesses have come forward after much hesitation and efforts, the investigating agency is satisfied with the statement under 161 which is neither signed by the witness, over which the witness has no control and which is of little evidentiary value?,” he asked to CBI.

“Why the investigator does not want the witness to depose under 164 which statement of course is recorded by a Magistrate and duly signed and definitely can be considered at a higher pedestal,” he asked to investigations agency.

“Let a report be called from the SP concerned on the observations made in this order. Considering the incident is 35 years old, this Court would expect the investigating agency will show it is sensitized enough to act swiftly and not take more than 15 days in filing a proper report or in alternative if the SP is of the opinion that the statement of the witness ought to be recorded under 164 then a report that the statement has already been recorded may be filed in the court,” he order to CBI.

Tytler had denied his role in the riots, but the court ordered further investigation despite the CBI having submitted closure reports in the case thrice in the past. The victims had filed a protest petition challenging the CBI’s closure reports in the case.

Verma is the son of famous poet and Congress Leader and MP Late Shrikant Verma who was the closest aide of Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. After Late Shrikant Verma’s demise in 1986, Veena Verma the widow of Shrikant Verma was nominated to the Parliament as a Member of Parliament by Rajiv Gandhi and she continued to be a MP for three successive terms till 2004. Their only son Verma was declared the youngest Billionaire in 1997 when he was merely 29 years old. Verma had achieved success in the field of defence sector selling armaments and weapons technologies to the Indian Armed Forces. Verma was also declared the Congress candidate in 1996 parliamentary elections however he declined then nomination due to personal reasons. Currently Verma owns several businesses globally including a US$ 2 billion FMCG giant ‘ OLIALIA World’. Verma’s wife Anca Verma (formerly Anca Neacsu) is former Miss Universe Romania.