NEW DELHI: A trial court on Wednesday dismissed the plea of Congress leader Sajjan Kumar seeking to drop nine CBI witnesses in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case in which he and three others are facing prosecution. District judge J R Aryan rejected the plea of Kumar, Brahmanand Gupta, Peru, and Ved Prakash claiming they were “irrelevant”. The court fixed January 10, 13 and 15 for commencing the trial in the case by recording of prosecution evidence.
While dismissing the plea of the accused, the court said it is for CBI to see which witnesses are to be produced to support its case. When the defence counsel asked CBI to tell them the names of the witnesses who will depose in court, the prosecutor refused to said they will not disclose the names in advance because of threats being given to them. The agency said it will disclose the names of the witnesses only two-three days before their deposition.
The CBI had earlier said though the chargesheet pertains to killing of six persons it was only restricting the charge relating to murder of Surjit Singh and not of other deceased persons in respect of whom the trial had already taken place.
Kumar’s counsel had said the CBI had filed a consolidated chargesheet of three separate FIRs and the nine prosecution witnesses, who are not related to the murder of victim Surjit Singh, should be removed. He had said three separate FIRs were registered for the murder of six persons but if CBI was restricting its case to only one murder then the witnesses who are not related to this murder should be removed. tnnThe CBI had, however, opposed the plea saying it was for the agency to decide who the relevant or irrelevant witnesses are and whom they want to remove. Kumar’s plea was also opposed by senior advocate H S Phoolka, appearing for the riot victims, saying the nine witnesses are “very important” and leaving them out will be miscarriage of justice.
The court had earlier framed various charges, including murder and rioting, against Kumar, Brahmanand Gupta, Peru, Khushal Singh and Ved Prakash in connection with killing of a man in Sultanpuri area on October 31, 1984.