Free Press Journal

1984 riots:Sajjan Kumar opposes witness’ plea not to show file


New Delhi: Congress leader Sajjan Kumar and three others, facing trial in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, today opposed in a court here the plea of a Delhi government official that he be exempted from producing the complete file relating to grant of sanction to prosecute the former MP.

In a counter affidavit filed before District Judge J R Aryan, Kumar said the prosecution cannot withhold documents as the court has to see whether sanction granted by government to prosecute the accused was valid or not.

Kumar’s affidavit claimed the statement of prosecution witness Vishwendra Singh, the then deputy secretary (Home) of city government and now private secretary of the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, was misleading that “he had proved the order of sanction dated January 1, 2010 issued by the order of Lieutenant Governor of Delhi.”

“The defence had asked specifically to supply copies of the documents which are relied upon by the prosecution in their deposition before the court to ensure proper cross-examination as to whether the investigation conducted or the material relied upon is sufficient to proceed with the case.

“It is a sort of mini-trial to arrive at just decision. Thus, there is nothing in public interest not to disclose the same. Had it been so, he could never bring it to depose before the court,” the affidavit filed through advocate Anil Sharma said.

The court asked the CBI to file its response, if any, and fixed February 12 for orders on the issue of granting privilege to the witness for not producing the complete file.

Singh is a formal prosecution witness, who has been brought by the CBI to prove that sanction was given to prosecute Sajjan Kumar and other accused under section 153A (causing disharmony between different communities) and 295 (injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class) of the IPC.

Sanction for prosecution of accused charged under section 153A (causing disharmony between different communities) is mandatory.

Apart from Sajjan Kumar, Brahmanand Gupta, Peru, and Ved Prakash are also facing trial for charges of murder and rioting in connection with the case of killing of Surjit Singh in Sultanpuri area in the riots that had occurred after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984. Accused Khushal Singh has died.

Kumar’s counsel said it was strange and peculiar that the prosecution, which has voluntarily chosen to use the documents in their deposition before the court to prove the sanction accorded, was not willing to show them to the accused.

“Obviously, they are relying on those documents. The question mark is whether they have got any right to curtail the right of the accused to cross-examine the witness on the aspect after going through the material document which is the foundation of the prosecution case,” he said.

Singh, a prosecution witness, was earlier asked by the court to produce records relating to grant of sanction to prosecute Kumar.

However, Singh had sought time to seek permission from the LG office for showing records of sanction of January, 1, 2010 and later on filed an affidavit seeking “privilege” for not producing the complete file containing the official notings.

Earlier, CBI counsel had argued that complete file was not required and in other case of riots in Delhi cantonment also privilege was granted and complete file was not produced.

The court had on January 10 commenced the trial in the case by recording the statement of Singh who was unable to give details regarding the sanction issue without looking at the documents.