Anti-Sikh riots case: India's probe agency finally locates key witness

Jagdish Tytler has been accused of inciting violence against Sikhs following the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984. Photograph:( Getty )

New Delhi, Delhi, India Oct 26, 2016, 03.09 AM (IST)

By Ritika Jain

India's Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) admitted in a Delhi court on Tuesday that it was finally able to locate the witness in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case. CBI had alleged the witness was "untraceable" barely a month back.

The 1984 riots had sparked off after the then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was shot dead by her Sikh bodyguards. It is believed that the violence against Sikhs, a community in India, was incited by Gandhi's party members, who were part of the Indian National Congress. 

The CBI's admission on Tuesday comes on the heels of a DNA report where the writers spoke to Narinder Singh Khaira, a person of interest in an ongoing investigation against Congress leader Jagdish Tytler. Tytler is alleged to have led murderous mobs during the riots.

A toddler at the time of the riots, Khaira is the son of the late Surinder Singh, who was a ceremonial reader of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib — a Holy Book in Sikhism — at the Gurudwara Pul Bangash in Delhi.

Khaira's father was a witness to three murders in the area on November 1, 1984.

Based on his statement, the Nanavati Commission recommended the registration of a case against Tytler for murder and for influencing witnesses. Nanavati Commission, named after retired judge G T Nanavati, headed the one-man panel formed by the federal government in 2000 to probe the killing of Sikhs in 1984.

However, according to the CBI, Khaira had declined to join the investigation. "Khaira told us that he is no longer an Indian citizen and that he would not come to India to join any probe," the counsel for CBI had stated.

Whereas, Khaira, in a telephonic conversation with this writer, had admitted that even though he would not return to India for fear of his life, he was more than happy to join the investigation and answer any queries the CBI may have.

The CBI had tried to end the case against Tytler, but was directed directed by a local court in Delhi to re-investigate certain allegations. The court order came after arms dealer Abhishek Verma claimed that Tytler was influencing witnesses in the case.

Appearing for the victims, HS Phoolka said that the CBI was misleading the court and that the witnesses were happy to help with the investigation.