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Jasbir Singh, the California-based witness whose testimony in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case involving former Union minister Jagdish Tytler could prove to be crucial, has moved the Delhi High Court seeking direction to the CBI to record his statement in the US.

Mr. Singh and his family members have alleged threat to his life, and therefore want the CBI to record his statement in the US. The investigative agency's conduct in the case so far, they claimed, had triggered doubts about its intentions. Mr Singh, in an affidavit filed before the Nanavati Commission, which inquired into the anti-Sikh riots, had stated that on November 3, 1984, he had overheard Tytler rebuking his men for nominal killing of Sikhs in his constituency.

But the CBI had filed a petition seeking closure of the case against Mr Tytler on the ground that key witness in the case was "untraceable." News channels subsequently traced Mr Singh to the US, making a mockery of the CBI's closure-report. Acting on the basis of these reports, the designated court trying the case directed the CBI to record Singh's statement.

Singh filed the petition through his son seeking quashing of a notice issued by the investigating agency asking him to come to the country to offer his statement. Following the trial court's order, the CBI had on January 2 issued notice to Singh under Section 160 of the CrPC, which empowers the probe agency to seek presence of a witness.

Challenging the summons, Mr Singh said the CBI, allegedly with the aim to helping the accused, was insisting on his presence in India for recording of statement. "I'll give 100% co-operation to them (the CBI) if they approach me here (in California). Why won't I co-operate? For 23 years, I've been waiting for justice," Mr Singh simultaneously told a news channel. He claimed that he had decided to settle outside India as the witnesses in the anti-Sikh cases were facing threats. "My life is under threat. I am staying here to save myself," he alleged. He said the CBI knew his whereabouts.

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