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In a move that is certain to come as a big embarrassment to the Congress, a city court has asked the CBI to re-investigate the alleged role of former Union minister Jagdish Tytler in the 1984 anti-Sikh pogrom. The court rejected a report filed by the investigation agency, which had sought closure of the case against Mr. Tytler.

The move couldn’t have come at a more inopportune time for the Congress, and is certain to deflate its campaign against Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. The opposition BJP is expected to use this opportunity to pin the Congress down for its role in the 1984 riots.

“I am of the opinion that the matter needs to be further investigated. CBI is directed to further investigate the case and submit its report by January 16 next year,” said additional chief metropolitan magistrate (ACMM) Sanjiv Jain. The court passed the order on the plea that a witness in the case was willing to depose in the matter.

“Since this witness (Jasbir Singh) has allegedly seen the incident and had given the affidavit before Justice Nanavati Commission and is willing to depose before CBI or join investigation, I am of the opinion that the matter needs to be further investigated,” the ACMM said. The court directed the CBI to place its report on January 16.

However, the ACMM did not express any opinion about the manner in which the testimony of Singh, who is settled in California, would be recorded.

The agency had filed a report before the court on September 29, claiming that one Jasbir Singh had allegedly heard Mr. Tytler inciting a mob to kill Sikhs after the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi but his whereabouts could not be located. The agency had said that Mr. Singh could not be examined as he was currently settled in California, US.

The CBI in its report seeking closure of the case against Tytler had af-firmed that its investigations into the case were conducted in a fair and impartial manner.

However, advocate Navikiran Singh appearing for Mr. Singh said submitted that Singh was willing to join the investigation. The counsel also furnished to the court his present address in the US.

The case relates to an anti-Sikh pogrom when a mob infuriated with the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had set on fire Gurudwara Pulbangash in North Delhi killing three persons. The case was registered on the basis of affidavits filed before the Nanavati Commission which was constituted to inquire into anti sikh riot cases.

Mr. Singh had told the Nanavati Commission on August 31, 2000 that he had “overheard Tytler rebuking his men on the night of November 3, 1984... for nominal killing of Sikhs in his constituency”.

The court on, December 6, had asked the investigating agency as well as Singh’s counsel Navkiran Singh to come up with ways to record the statement of the witness.

The Congress leader, however, expressed doubt over the veracity of the affidavit of Singh, who had claimed that he had allegedly heard him inciting the mob. He said there were contradictions in it and he would be happy that he comes and make the things clear so that entire conspiracy surrounding it will be exposed.

“I want that man to come, because then the whole thing will be clear and then you will come to know what conspiracy it is, what lies it was,” said Mr. Tytler.

Senior advocate HS Phoolka on behalf of riot victims said, “The court has rejected the clean chit given by the CBI to Tytler. The court has directed the CBI to carry out further investigation and then make a fresh report. We will now ask the CBI to either send him a questionnaire, ask him for affidavit from America or go for video conferencing, if they want. His coming to India is not necessitated.”

CBI counsel Sanjay Kumar said that it was ready to record Singh's statement but the witness had to appear before the agency so that his claims could be corroborated.

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