SC to set up SIT to probe 186 anti-Sikh riot cases

The Supreme Court on Wednesday decided to form a fresh special investigation team to be headed by a retired high court judge for carrying out a further probe into 186 anti-Sikh riot cases.

A three-judge bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud relied upon a report filed by a supervisory committee - comprising former apex court judges Justices J M Panchal and K S Radhakrishnan - to conclude that as many as 186 cases were not further investigated by a SIT formed by the Union government in 2015.

"Regard being had to the nature of the case, we think it appropriate that a fresh SIT should be constituted for carrying on the further investigation," the bench said.

The court asked Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand and senior advocate H S Phoolka, appearing for petitioner S Gurlad Singh Kahlon, to suggest names of a retired judge as chairman and two others - one retired IPS and another serving - to be part of the SIT. The court would consider the matter on Thursday.

The court, however, clarified that the cases in which acquittals have taken place, would not be considered.

The Centre had earlier told that out of the 250 cases which were investigated by the SIT, closure reports were filed in 241. It had said that nine cases were still being investigated by the SIT, while two cases are being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

The SIT, formed by the Ministry of Home Affairs in February 2015, has scrutinised records of 293 of the total 650 cases registered by the police in connection with the anti-Sikh riots, that took place after assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. In the remaining cases, charge sheets were filed by the police, and they have been either decided by trial courts or await final decisions.

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