CBI pressurised witnesses to depose against me: Sajjan

Veteran Congress leader Sajjan Kumar, facing trial in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, today alleged in a Delhi court that CBI had "pressurised" the witnesses to depose against him.

Advocate I U Khan, appearing for Sajjan Kumar and continuing final arguments before District Judge J R Aryan, said CBI had put pressure over the witnesses to depose that they had seen him allegedly instigating the mob during the riots in Raj Nagar area of Delhi Cantonment here.

"CBI had forced several witnesses to give statement against Kumar and when they refused to depose on its line, the agency dropped them. This is tainted investigation," he said.

He referred to the statement of defence witness Baldev Raj Khanna, who had deposed in the court that CBI was putting pressure on him to say that he had seen Kumar and two other co-accused indulging in riot activities.

He said Khanna had deposed that one Manoj Pangarkar of CBI had pressurised him to name Kumar but he had told the officer that when he had not seen the former MP in the area, how can he name him.

Citing statements of several prosecution witnesses, the counsel said they were watching the riot activities closely, having knowledge of everything and they in their statements had not taken Kumar's name.

"One of the riot victims and CBI witness Jasbir Kaur, in her statement, had recorded that she had seen the people who were part of the mob and she had said that she had stated in her statement to CBI that she had not seen MP Sajjan Kumar during the riots in the area," Khan said.

Sajjan Kumar is facing trial along with five others - Balwan Khokkar, Kishan Khokkar, Mahender Yadav, Girdhari Lal and Captain Bhagmal - for allegedly inciting a mob against the Sikh community in Delhi Cantonment area here.

The case related to anti-Sikh riots that had broken out after the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984.

During the arguments, the defence counsel said the statements of key prosecution witness and complainant Jagdish Kaur were "contradictory and inconsistent".

He said that in her statement before a magistrate, Kaur had said that on November 3, 1984, she was threatened by the police in its van not to take anyone's name in her complaint while in her earlier statement, she had said that she was threatened by the cops in police station when she had gone to record her report.

Khan also argued that according to CBI, Jagdish Kaur had made a complaint to the police on November 3, 1984 where she had named several persons, including Kumar, and two other accused in the case but that deposition was destroyed, went missing from the police records and was "false".

He said Kaur had neither in her statements to the Delhi Police nor in her first affidavit taken Kumar's name and that she had seen him during the riots in the area but for the first time in 2000, she took his name before Justice G T Nanavati Commission that she had seen him giving a speech allegedly instigating a mob to kill Sikhs.

CBI had earlier told the court that there was a conspiracy of "terrifying proportion" between Kumar and the police during the riots.

It had said the police had acted in a pre-planned manner during the riots and kept its "eyes closed" to the wide-spread violence.

The case against Sajjan Kumar was registered in 2005 on a recommendation by Justice G T Nanavati Commission. CBI had filed two chargesheets against him and the other accused in January 2010.

The trial court had in May, 2010 framed charges against Sajjan Kumar and the five others under Sections 302 (murder), 395 (dacoity), 427 (mischief to cause damage to property), 153-A (promoting enmity between different communities) and other provisions of the IPC.

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