New Delhi: Even as a Delhi court, rejecting the closure report filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), on Wednesday ordered the investigative agency to re-investigate the role of the three-time Congress MP Jagdish Tytler in the killings of Sikhs near a gurudwara on November 1, 1984, politicians across party lines insist that a fair probe was possible only when the investigators were given a freehand.
Speaking to IBN18 Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai, senior Supreme Court lawyer Harvinder Singh Phoolka said the CBI was capable was doing a good job but because it has been under the influence of the government, it has not been able to perform well. He also said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was "conscious of the fact that the guilty (in 1984 riots) are not being punished".
Here is the transcript of an excerpt from the debate:
Rajdeep Sardesai: Do you really believe that the government and the CBI in particular are serious about prosecuting the likes of Jagdish Tytler?
Harvinder Singh Phoolka: I think if they are given the freehand to do the job properly then obviously they will do the job, but it is under the political influence of the government that they turned down the decision.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Mr Vikas Singh, respond to that because the feeling has been that we are now 29 years after 1984 and what is the track record is that barely half a dozen convictions when 3,000 Sikhs were massacred.
Vikas Singh: Well Rajdeep it doesn't reflect anything on the judicial system per say. It reflects more in the investigation being done by the police because the role of the judiciary comes only when the chargesheet is filed or the final report is filed. So here in this case, the judiciary has come out with, you know, flying colours by rejecting the closure report saying that further investigation be done.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Mr Phoolka, have you in all these years tried to approach the Prime Minister, a distinguished Sikh, have you ever tried to approach him? Did you ever try to seek his personal intervention at any stage?
Harvinder Singh Phoolka: I met him before he became the Prime Minister. I met him a few times but after he became the Prime Minister I have only written to him, but not met him.
Rajdeep Sardesai: But at any stage did you ever get a sense when you met him that he too was aware of the manner in which the government of the day, the Congress government of the day, has gone slow on these cases?
Harvinder Singh Phoolka: He was conscious of the fact that the guilty are not being punished. In fact, I have never told this in media, this is the first time I am saying that he appreciated me for the fight which is being carried out. And after that whenever I have met him, he is conscious of everything, he knows everything.
Rajdeep Sardesai: You are saying an important point. You are saying Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh appreciated your fight, said he knew what was happening and yet you are saying in the end that he appeared helpless?
Harvinder Singh Phoolka: This is very, very obvious. The manner in which the government has behaved under him.