Formation of new SIT for anti-Sikh riot cases 'historic': Phoolka

REUTERS  Mansi Thapliyal Sikh demonstrators shout slogans during a protest outside the residence of Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi

In addition to a retired HC judge, the new SIT will have a serving police officer and a retired DIG-level police officer, the said.

Supreme Court advocate and AAP legislator H S Phoolka has termed the forming of a fresh Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe 186 anti-Sikh riot cases as "historic".

Nearly 3,000 people were killed, a lot of them in Delhi, in the anti-Sikh riots that broke out following the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984. The ensuing violence had claimed 2,733 lives in Delhi alone.

The bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said on Thursday, "We have perused the report of the Supervisory Committee".

The decision to form a SIT was based on a report submitted by the supervisory committee of Justices K S Radhakrishnan and J M Panchal previous year, which was set up the apex court in which it was stated that 186 out of 293 cases were halted without carrying out proper investigation. That SIT was to examine the necessity of further investigation into them.

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The Centre had said that out of 250 riots cases which were probed by the SIT, closure reports were filed in 241.

"When we were elected back in power in 2015, the Narendra Modi government, in a panic, formed an SIT fearing that Arvind Kejriwal would call for an unbiased probe to nail the accused", he said.

When the Centre constituted the SIT in 2014, a total of 293 Sikh riot cases were entrusted to it.

Petitioner S Gurlad Singh Kahlon had earlier told the bench that a total of 293 riot-related cases were taken up for scrutiny by the earlier SIT which had made a decision to close 199 of them after scrutiny.

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