Appeal for impartial and effective prosecution of Sajjan Kumar Congress (I) M.P.

In November 1984, following the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, almost 3,000 Sikhs were slaughtered and burnt to death in Delhi. Witnesses and survivors of these killings categorically indicted the Delhi Police and some leaders of the Congress (I) for permitting the mobs to kill with impunity. 23 years later the families of the victims are still awaiting justice.
 
The C.B.I. has filed an Appeal filed before the Delhi High Court, against the acquittal of Congress (I) M.P. Sajjan Kumar, in a case pertaining to the murder of one Nevin Singh husband of Anwar Kaur on 1st November, 1984 at Sultanpuri in North – West Delhi. Senior Advocate S.S. Gandhi appeared on behalf of the CBI to argue the Appeal on 12th March, 2007.
 
It is pertinent to draw attention to the fact that the same lawyer, Shri S.S. Gandhi, Senior Advocate, had appeared on behalf of Delhi Police, before the Justice Nanavati Commission of Inquiry (1984 Anti – Sikh Riots). The Ranganath Misra Commission, Kusum Mittal Committee, the Justice Jain Aggarwal Committee, the Nanavati Commission Report and court judgments have all pointed to the unholy nexus between the Delhi Police and the rioting mobs of 1984, during the carnage and in the investigation of cases. The Nanavati Report endorsed the findings of the Misra Commission and the Kusum Mittal Committee that, either the police “were negligent in the performance of their duties or that they had directly or indirectly helped the mobs in their violent attacks on the Sikhs.”(pg.183, Nanavati Report) As many as 90 Delhi police officials were indicted for lapses by these inquiries and summary dismissal of 6 senior Delhi Police officers was recommended.
 
While considering the evidence against Sajjan Kumar, the Nanavati Report specifically states that, “There is ample material to show that no proper investigation was done by the police even in those cases…There is also material to show that police did not note down the names of some of the assailants who were influential persons. One witness has specifically stated that he had named Shri Sajjan Kumar as one of the assailants yet his name was not noted in his statement by the police.”(pg. 161 Nanavati Report). The Nanavati Commission  recommended to the Government to examine those cases where the witnesses have accused Shri Sajjan Kumar specifically and yet no chargesheets were filed against him and these cases were terminated as untraced…” by the Delhi Police.
 
Advocate Vrinda Grover, had appeared as a witness before the Nanavati Commission and shown through her study of court judgments that the acquittals in the 1984 trials in Delhi, were a direct consequence of the incompetent, casual and partisan investigation by the Delhi Police. She stated in her affidavit that “the police had functioned not as an agent of the rule of law but as an agent of the ruling party”. After her deposition before the Commission she had been cross examined by Shri S.S. Gandhi, Sr. Advocate on behalf of the Delhi Police.
 
According to Section 35 of the Advocates Act, 1961, the definition of professional misconduct includes ‘changing sides’. Having appeared for the Delhi Police before the Justice Nanavati Commission it is against professional etiquette and ethics for Sr. Advocate S.S.Gandhi to now represent the case of the victims through the State, in the Delhi High Court. Although it is Congress M.P. Sajjan Kumar who is being prosecuted by the CBI, the negligence of the Delhi Police in investigation and recording of witness statements would be relevant issues during the Appeal. It is apprehended that such conflict of interests may compromise the prosecution. The prosecution of a sitting M.P. of the ruling Congress (I) party deserves to be conducted in a fair and impartial manner, for justice must not only be done but must also seem to be done.
 
At stake are the secular claims of the UPA Government , the institutional autonomy of the CBI and the faith of the people who have sought justice for 23 years, in the legal system of Indian democracy.
 
We the undersigned appeal that Mr. S.S. Gandhi be discharged and the CBI appoint a senior counsel of high professional competence and impeccable integrity as counsel in the Appeal pending in the Delhi High Court against Sajjan Kumar.
 
Signatories:
·  Pushkar Raj for Peoples Union for Civil Liberties ( PUCL Delhi)
· Sudha Bhardwaj for Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL Chhattisgarh)
· Nagraj Adve for Peoples Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR)
· Mukul Sharma (Director, Amnesty International India)
· Dr. Uma Chakravorty (Historian)
· Javed Anand (Co-Editor Communalism Combat)
· Harsh Mander (Columnist and social activist)
· Sadhana Arya for Saheli, Womens’ Resource Centre
· Farah Naqvi (Journalist and Activist)
· Gautam Navlakha (Journalist and activist)
· Dr. Apoorvananad (Professor Department of Hindi, Delhi University)
· Aseem Srivastava (Columnist)
· Amit Sengupta (Journalist)
· Jamal Kidwai (Director AMAN Trust)
· Vrinda Grover (Advocate)