Jagdish Tytler: The man accused of instigating a mob to kill Sikhs

Last Updated: Wed, Apr 10, 2013 18:58 hrs

A Delhi Court on Wednesday set aside the CBI closure report on senior Congress leader Jagdish Tytler and ordered the reopening of the case against the Congress leader in connection with the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

Tytler is accused of instigating a mob that led to the killing of three men who had taken shelter in a gurdwara Nov 1, 1984.

The CBI had earlier given a clean chit to Tytler in 2007 and 2009 claiming there was no evidence against him.

Challenging the closure report filed by the CBI in 2009, Lakhwinder Kaur, whose husband was killed in the riots, argued that the investigating agency had not recorded the testimonies of two key eyewitnesses who had moved to the United States after the riots.

During the arguments on April 4, the CBI prosecutor had sought the dismissal of the plea filed by the victim, saying the probe has made it clear that Tytler was not present on November 1, 1984 at Gurudwara Pulbangash in North Delhi where three people were killed during the riots.

The prosecutor said at the time of the incident, Tytler was at Teen Murti Bhawan, the residence of the then late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Tytler was among the three prominent leaders named in the reports on the anti-Sikh riots. Two other leaders named were Sajjan Kumar and the late HKL Bhagat.

The 1984 anti-Sikh riots, which claimed the lives of almost 3000 Sikhs, were triggered by the assassination of Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984 by two of her Sikh bodyguards. The mob attack was part of the violence against Sikhs in the aftermath of the assassination of Indira Gandhi.

Though Tytler is currently on a visit to Odisha, he has since not made a comment.

Tytler is in-charge of Congress party affairs in Odisha,

Tytler's alleged role in the case relating to killing of three persons -- Badal Singh, Thakur Singh and Gurcharan Singh -- near the Gurudwara Pulbangash was re-investigated by the CBI after a court had in December 2007 refused to accept its closure report. CBI again gave Tytler a clean chit to  in 2009. And it was only in 2010 did a magistrate accept the CBI's closure report in the case against Tytler, saying there was no evidence to put him on trial.

The court had allowed CBI's closure report saying Tytler was present at Teen Murti Bhawan and was not at the spot of crime and the contentions of CBI were justified by material, including some visual tapes and versions of some independent witnesses.

One of the witness, Jasbir (now residing in California), in an affidavit, had claimed before the Justice Nanavati Commission that he had heard Tytler on November 3, 1984, rebuking his men for the "nominal killings" carried out in the riots. The Nanavati Commission report found 'credible evidence' against Tytler, saying he 'very probably' had a hand in organising the attacks.

But the court had rejected Jasbir's version, saying he had deposed for something which took place on November 3 while the case related to an incident of November 1, 1984.

Some of the witnesses had alleged that during the riots, Tytler was instigating the mob to kill Sikhs, a charge strongly refuted by him.

Tytler has claimed innocence, and maintained that it was a case of mistaken identity. Tytler had not been named by eight earlier inquiry commissions setup to investigate the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

Tytler was the Indian Union Minister of State for Overseas Indian Affairs, a position he resigned from after he became a key accused in the case.

The main opposition BJP charged that the Congress had "misused" the CBI, "whose credibility has already eroded", to cover-up the case against Tytler, but failed.

"Misuse of CBI had peaked under the UPA government. Congress has been making unending efforts to cover-up those who perpetrated this crime. CBI had given a clean chit to those who were involved," the BJP said.

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