'No evidence against me in anti-Sikh riots case'
Congress leader Jagdish Tytler, facing re-investigation in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, said Thursday there was nothing against him as yet to prove that he was present at the scene and that a witness was put under pressure to give a statement against him.
Witness Surinder Singh changed his statements five times and his son called from the US to say that his father was under pressure to give a statement against me, Tytler said, a day after a Delhi court ordered the reopening of a riots case against him.
"There is nothing against me as yet...till nobody has put a question mark on me," Tytler told TV channel CNN-IBN in an interview.
"My name comes back on the basis of the statement made by Surinder Singh and Jasbir Singh. Surinder Singh first gave a statement in English and then gave a written statement in Gurumukhi. I want to know that why Phoolka (senior advocate H.S. Phoolka representing riot victims) forced Surinder Singh to write a statement," he said.
"Do you know Jasbir Singh is an absconder? He is wanted by court of law. Do you know the CBI tracked down that he was not even in Delhi, he was in Jodhpur?" he said.
Tytler is accused of instigating a mob that led to the murder of three men who had taken shelter at a Delhi gurdwara Nov 1, 1984.
The mob attack was part of violence against Sikhs after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi Oct 31, 1984.
On the court order to reopen the case, Tytler said: "They should do it. I have no objection. But where were the witnesses when the case was registered in 1984?"
"His father says Surinder Singh is lying. I will show you affidavit given to CBI. His brother says he is telling lie, I was with him. The gurdwara secretary says he was telling lies. In the end, he wrote to the PM, saying I'm sorry I told lies," he said.
The Congress leader said he was ready for 100 percent scrutiny in the matter and won't take any responsible position in the government till his name was cleared in the matter.
"I resigned because of the moral responsibility...the accusations were against me. I did not want the party or the prime minister to be embarrassed...till the time my name is not cleared, I am not going to ask for any post in the government," he said.
"I can't even dream of taking a responsible position as an elected representative. Till date nobody has put a question mark on me except the media," he said.
Asked if he was being framed as part of a political conspiracy against him, Tytler said: "I think this is just that they wanted to take advantage of the situation and make money out of it. I think Phoolka may be getting enough money from" the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.
"Twice the BJP government was there and commissions were also appointed under them. Why did not they take any action?" he asked.
On his alleged role in 1984, Tytler said: "It was a shameful tragedy...As per the witnesses, the mob came at 10 a.m. But if you see Nanavati (Commission) report it says the mob came at 1.30 p.m. That's the first wrong thing."
"Secondly, I happened to be (with) Indira Gandhi's body, of which I have proof. How can I be at two places? If I can be there (with) Indira's body, of which Doordarshan has the proof, how can I be there (spot of the mob attack)?" he said.
He said the CBI closure report in the case submitted in the trial court was made for the first time when Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani was the home minister.
Tytler said there was no comparison between the 2002 Gujarat riots and the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
"(Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra) Modi has got his own agenda. What he did everybody knows about it. The matter has reached to Supreme court. Let the decision be taken on that. In the 1984 riots, those who were convicted should be punished," he added.