donderdag 11 april 2013

29 yrs and several flip-flops later, justice continues to evade 1984 riot victims

29 yrs and several flip-flops later, justice continues to evade 1984 riot victims

Satya Prakash, Hindustan Times New Delhi, April 11, 2013
First Published: 00:01 IST(11/4/2013) | Last Updated: 12:12 IST(11/4/2013)
Almost 29 years after over 3,000 Sikhs were massacred in the Capital in the aftermath of the assassination of the then prime minister Indira Gandhi, justice continues to elude the victims

The case has witnessed many flip-flops with the probe agency filing two closure reports and both finally being rejected by the court. In the process, both the victims and the accused, ie Tytler, continue to face an uncertain future.

Speedy trial is a part of the fundamental right to life and liberty guaranteed to every individual. The victims too cannot be made to wait endlessly for justice.

Every time the former union minister thought that he was off the hook, the case came back to haunt him.

On September 29, 2007, the CBI had for the first time filed a closure report, claiming that witness Jasbir Singh, who migrated to the US, could not be traced and another witness Surender Singh refused to record his statement.

But on December 18, 2007 an additional chief metropolitan magistrate again ordered the CBI to re-investigate his role.

After that, a two-member CBI team went to New York to record the statements of two eyewitnesses -- Jasbir Singh and Surinder Singh.

But the CBI again gave a clean chit to Tytler, which was accepted by a magistrate who said there was no sufficient material to send Tytler to trial as the statement of California-based witness Jasbir had "no relevance" and that the statements of another witness Surinder were "self-contradictory".

But this was not to be. A Sikh woman, who lost her husband during the riots, challenged the magisterial court's decision resulting in the case being re-opened once again.

The court has directed the CBI to conduct further investigation in the case against Tytler and to record the statements of the witnesses who it had come to know during the investigation itself "and are claiming/shown/named to be the eye witnesses of the incident".

The court made it clear that it was the job of the CBI to reach wherever the witnesses were and not the other way round.

The case is a sad commentary on India's premier investigating agency, which has somehow earned the dubious distinction of botching up high-profile cases involving political bigwigs.

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