1984 Riots: CBI Supports Victims' Transfer Plea For Evidence Not Being Properly Recorded

12/10/2015 7:14 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
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Indian Sikh women shout slogans against the Congress party of India and its President Sonia Gandhi during a protest in New Delhi on June 5, 2015. The protest was taken against Congress Party leader Jagdish Tytler's alleged role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. AFP PHOTO/ MONEY SHARMA (Photo credit should read MONEY SHARMA/AFP/Getty Images)

NEW DELHI--The CBI today did not oppose the plea of some anti-Sikh riot victims in the Delhi High Court seeking transfer of a related case to another court alleging that the evidence was not being properly recorded.

The submission was made before Justice Siddharth Mridul, who had stayed the trial court proceedings in the case allegedly involving Congress leader Sajjan Kumar.

"They (CBI) are not filing any affidavit. This indicates that they are not opposing their (victims) contention," the judge recorded, after the counsel for the agency wished not to file any response to the victims' plea.

The CBI's submission came in the backdrop of the court's notice issued on the plea by complainant Joginder Singh, who said "the transfer of the case is imperative for meeting the ends of justice".

Kumar, co-accused Brahmanand Gupta and Ved Prakash, who were asked to respond to Singh's allegation, said "such frivolous application, which is politically motivated, for transfer must be checked to ensure that ends of justice are not defeated" and the plea should have been moved before the trial court itself.

"The trial court is the court of district and sessions judge and is competent having jurisdiction to transfer the case to any competent court within his session," Sajjan Kumar had said in his affidavit which was adopted by the other two co-accused.

Singh's contention was supported by senior advocate H S Phoolka, who through an affidavit supporting the petition, gave instances where the correct version of the witness was allegedly not being recorded in the trial court.

The complainant has alleged that the presiding officer "on his own interpreted" what prosecution witness Sheela Kaur had said during recording of her evidence.

The victim's claim was opposed by the Congress leader who said "the petition raises serious doubt and apparent suspicion exists because nothing as alleged ever happened".

"The petition contains false and frivolous allegation. It lacks bonafide and is perverse. There is no material on record to establish their case. The allegation against the Presiding Officer (judge) of the trial court are outrageously scandalous and have crossed all the limits of decency.

"The version of the judge is not before this court. Thus, deciding such an application would be inaccurate one-sided affair. Apparently, the transfer petition cannot be allowed on the basis of untested allegation," he added.

Kumar also refuted Singh's contention that the witness was illiterate saying, "witness being illiterate or belonging to poor strata does not affect the proceedings at all. There are thousands of cases where the litigation is initiated by the illiterate and poor persons."

Deposing as a prosecution witness, Kaur on September 10 had told the trial court that she had seen Kumar allegedly addressing the crowd and instigating the mob to kill them.

She had deposed that mob had killed three of her family members - husband Balbir Singh, father-in-law Basant Singh and brother-in-law Balihar Singh, after dragging them out.

"Unfortunately, on September 10 at many places, what the witness has said was not correctly recorded in that sense," the petition has said.

Phoolka in his affidavit gave some instances where he claimed that the correct version of the witness was not recorded, adding that "the fact that the witness had stated that Sajjan Kumar is a big leader of the area was not recorded."

He also claimed that the deposition of the witness that "mai Sajjan Kumar ko pahchanti hoon, woh court me maujood hai" (I can identify Kumar, he is present in the court) was recorded as "I can identify him (Kumar), if he is present in court today".

"The word 'if' has been added by the Presiding Officer though there was no such occasion to do so in the deposition of the witness," Phoolka has alleged.

Kumar, Gupta and Prakash are facing trial on charges of murder and rioting in the case of killing of Surjit Singh in Sultanpuri area of West Delhi.

The court in July 2010 had framed charges, including murder and rioting, against Kumar, Gupta, Peeriya, Khushal Singh and Ved Prakash in connection with Surjit's killing in the riots. Accused Khushal Singh and Peeriya have since died.

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