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1984 anti-Sikh riots: SC grants 2 more months to SIT to complete its probe

New Delhi | The Supreme Court on Friday granted two more months to the Special Investigation Team to complete its probe into 186 cases of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

A bench comprising Justices S A Bobde and S Abdul Nazeer extended the time after the SIT informed it that more than 50 per cent of the work has been done and it wanted two more months to complete the investigation.

The apex court also issued notice to parties on a plea by petitioner S Gurlad Singh Kahlon, a member of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, seeking inquiry into role of 62 policemen named in the riots.

The apex court had on January 11 last year constituted the SIT headed by former Delhi High Court judge Justice S N Dhingra and comprising retired IPS officer Rajdeep Singh and serving IPS officer Abhishek Dular to supervise further probe into the 186 riots cases, in which closure reports had been filed earlier.

However, the SIT presently has only two members as Singh had declined to be a part of the team on “personal grounds”.

The top court had appointed the three-member SIT after the Ministry of Home Affairs and counsel for petitioner S G S Kahlon arrived at a consensus with regard to the persons who could be appointed in the fresh SIT.

Large-scale riots had broken out in the national capital following the assassination of the then prime minister Indira Gandhi by her two Sikh security guards on October 31, 1984. The violence had claimed 2,733 lives in Delhi alone.

The court had said the previous SIT did not carry out further probe into the 186 cases and had directed setting up of a fresh SIT comprising a former high court judge and two police officers.

Justice Dhingra, who had retired from the Delhi High Court, had dealt with several high-profile cases including the 2001 Parliament Attack case as a trial judge.

As the judge of the trial court, he had dealt with many of the 1984 riot cases, and his verdicts had resulted in conviction in 16 cases.

On August 16, 2017, the apex court had appointed a supervisory panel to examine the earlier SIT’s decision to close 241 cases.

The Centre had said that out of 250 riots cases which were probed by that SIT, closure reports were filed in 241. It had said some cases were still being investigated by the SIT, and two by the CBI.

The earlier SIT was headed by Pramod Asthana, an IPS officer of 1986 batch, and comprised retired district and sessions judge Rakesh Kapoor and additional deputy commissioner of the Delhi Police Kumar Gyanesh.

Kahlon had told the court that a total of 293 riot-related cases were taken up for scrutiny by the earlier SIT which later decided to close 199 of them.

Kahlon had sought the top court’s direction for setting up another SIT to ensure speedy justice to the riot victims.

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