Anti-Sikh Riots: HC Asks Police Officers To Respond To Contempt Plea By Witness Abhishek Verma
The Delhi High Court Monday sought response of two senior officers of the police on a plea by controversial arms dealer Abhishek Verma, a witness in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots, seeking contempt action against them for allegedly disobeying a judicial order to continue providing him security. Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva asked the counsel for the Delhi police officials as to why Verma's security was scaled down despite an order passed by a trial court which had on August 18 asked it to continue providing the security cover for a month to enable him to approach the appropriate forum.
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New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Monday sought response of two senior officers of the police on a plea by controversial arms dealer Abhishek Verma, a witness in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots, seeking contempt action against them for allegedly disobeying a judicial order to continue providing him security. Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva asked the counsel for the Delhi police officials as to why Verma’s security was scaled down despite an order passed by a trial court which had on August 18 asked it to continue providing the security cover for a month to enable him to approach the appropriate forum.
When the counsel for the police officers said they were trying to review the security assessment, the high court said, what if something would have happened to him during that period. He is an important witness in the (riots) case. Verma has sought contempt action against Additional Deputy Commissioner of Delhi Police and Deputy Commissioner of Delhi Police of South District for alleged wilful disobedience and for not complying with the directions passed by the chief metropolitan magistrate on August 18 to continue providing police security to him as per his previous security arrangements.
Verma was earlier provided with three security personnel for his personal security as well as of his family members as they were receiving threats. Another single judge bench of the high court, as in interim measure on September 28, has directed the police to continue providing three security personnel round the clock to Verma.
It had sought replies of CBI and Delhi Police on his plea to direct the authorities to continue providing round the clock police security cover of three armed PSOs as already provided for the protection of Verma and his family members from South District Police Lines, Hauz Khas till his examination is concluded in the riots case before the trial court. On Monday, advocate Maninder Singh, appearing for Verma, said the police officials had outrightly refused to obey the directions of the CMM court and they had not complied with the directions to continue providing proper security to Verma.
Pass an order to initiate contempt proceedings against the respondents (police officers)/ contemnors and punish them as per law, the contempt petition filed through advocate Dinhar Takiar said. Advocate Shikhar Sheel, appearing for the police officers, assured the court that they will abide by the high court’s September 28 order of providing security to Verma.
Justice Sachdeva asked the police officers to file a response to the petition within two weeks and listed the matter for further hearing on October 21. While Congress leader Jagdish Tytler, who has been given clean chit thrice by the CBI, has refused to undergo the polygraph test, Verma had given conditional consent saying he is ready to undergo the test if he was provided round-the-clock security as he feared threat to his life.
Verma’s counsel had earlier told the high court that the security cover provided to him has been suddenly withdrawn by Delhi Police without any prior notice or intimation and also without re-evaluating the threat perception to him and his family members. The counsel had said the security cover was withdrawn by the police on August 8, without any prior notice and it was a violation of the high court’s September 27, 2017 order. Verma also wrote a letter to the DCP (South) to not withdraw the security.
On August 18, he approached the trial court which asked the police to continue providing the security cover for a month to enable him to approach the appropriate forum. The plea sought direction to the authorities to continue to provide security to Verma and his family in view of the imminent threat to life and property of them, if he does not withdraw himself from being a witness in the riots case and also for undergoing polygraph test (lie detection test).
The counsel had told the high court that Verma’s lie detection test was conducted for three days from December 4 to 6, 2018 and the next day, he again got a threat. The petition had said that on December 20, 2019 an open threat letter was received by the CMM giving threat to the presiding officer and the counsel for the complainant and the witnesses of the case.
The case pertains to the riots at Gurudwara Pulbangash in North Delhi where three people were killed on November 1, 1984, a day after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Tytler, who has denied any role in the riots, was thrice given clean chit by the CBI in the case, but the agency was directed by the court to further investigate the matter. The victims had filed a protest petition challenging the CBI’s closure reports in the case.
The agency had reinvestigated the case of killing of Badal Singh, Thakur Singh and Gurcharan Singh near the gurudwara after a court in December 2007 refused to accept its closure report.
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