New Delhi: A Delhi court on Thursday deferred till 28 April the hearing in the Jagdish Tytler case relating to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
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Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Rakesh Pandit said the matter will be heard on 28-29 April after the Central Bureau of Investigation, or CBI, submitted that his court has no jurisdiction because the offence made out in the case was that of murder which was in the exclusive jurisdiction of a sessions court.
During the arguments, CBI counsel Sanjay Kumar contended the case should be heard by a court of sessions as it was related to the offence of murder.
“We have already filed a chargesheet against other accused Suresh Kumar Paniwala in this case and the court should take cognisance of it and refer the matter to a sessions court,” Kumar contended.
When the court wanted to know about Tytler, the CBI counsel said the Congress leader was not present at the time of incident.
“Tytler was not present at Gurudwara Pulbanghash as he was at Teen Murti Bhawan, besides the body of Indira Gandhi,” he said.
“We have already filed a closure report (regarding Tytler) after recording evidence of two witnesses. There is no sufficient evidence against him,” the counsel said.
During the argument, CBI also referred to a CD provided by Tytler to prove that he was not present at the site of the incident on 3 November, 1984.
CBI’s plea was opposed by senior advocate H.S. Phoolka, appearing for Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee, who said it was too late for the agency to come up with such arguments.
“This court had earlier ordered re-investigation into this matter after rejecting the closure report filed by CBI. So this court has the jurisdiction to decide the issue,” Phoolka said.
The case against Tytler was registered by the CBI on the directions of the Nanavati Commission, which had probed the sequence of events leading to the anti-Sikh riots after the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Jasbir Singh, a witness to the incident and now settled in California, in his deposition before the Commission had alleged that he had overheard the Congress leader making a comment with regard to killing of Sikhs in his erstwhile constituency (Delhi Sadar) on the night of 3 November, 1984.
After the court proceedings, supporters of Tytler tried to disrupt Phoolka’s press briefing outside the court complex.
Tytler, 65, was earlier also given a clean chit by the CBI on 28 September 2007 had after it had failed to trace Jasbir Singh.
However, the court had refused to accept the closure report and directed the agency to reinvestigate the case compelling it to send its officials to the US to record the statement of Jasbir Singh.
Tytler, who has been declared Congress candidate from Delhi’s northeast seat for the Lok Sabha polls, had to resign as Union minister from the United Progressive Alliance government in the wake of the Justice G.T. Nanavati Commission report indicting him for his alleged role in the riots.