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Jagdish Tytler Opens up on 'Rajiv Gandhi's Role' During 1984 Anti-Sikh Riots

File photo of Congress leader Jagdish Tytler. (PTI)

File photo of Congress leader Jagdish Tytler. (PTI)

Jagdish Tytler said Rajiv Gandhi “recced” North Delhi during the riots triggered by prime minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination in 1984.

Chandigarh: Former Union minister and Congress leader Jagdish Tytler, for the first time, has admitted that Rajiv Gandhi took several rounds of North Delhi with him to assess the situation in the wake of 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

The riots were the aftermath of Rajiv Gandhi’s mother and then prime minister Indira Gandhi being assassinated while in office by her Sikh bodyguards in retaliation to Operation Blue Star.

Talking to News18, Tytler said Rajiv Gandhi recced the areas in the former’s car and was extremely anguished at party MPs from Delhi, who were told to go to their constituencies and contain the situation.

Tytler is one of those named as being organisers of the riots by the Nanavati Commission in its report submitted over a decade back. He was also accused of killing three Sikhs outside Gurudwara Pulbangash in his Delhi north constituency during the riots. While the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI), till date, has not been able to establish any charges against Tytler, several Delhi courts from time-to-time have pressed the agency for further investigation into his role.

As part of its investigation, the CBI now has asked for a lie-detector test of Tytler. The 74-year-old responded by saying that he was ready for it, even though he was not legally bound to do so and only if agency admits that the successive clean chits given to him by the CBI were 'mistakes'.

The fresh impetus to reinvestigate the Congress leader’s role in the 1984 riots has been lent due to recent claims by Abhishek Verma, a former aide to Tytler and a controversial arms dealer, who has deposed against the leader in Karkardooma Court.

Verma has alleged influence by Tytler in manipulating witnesses related to the case and sending a few of them abroad. Tytler responded to this by saying that Verma accusations are a result of him not being favoured in an arbitration proceeding by the leader. “My refusal to help him in the case has led to these latest allegations,” said Tytler.

Tytler also alleged a vicious smear campaign against him by opponents from Akali Dal and just stopped short of naming his own party detractors of damaging his reputation.

The Congress also expressed anguish over the way his party has been accused of organising the genocide but refused to call the carnage an organised riot and he referred to the pogrom as a reaction to Indira Gandhi’s assassination.

Former Punjab deputy CM Sukhbir Badal said that Tytler's statement shows Rajiv wanted to take revenge for Indira Gandhi’s assassination and “went around supervising the massacre” and demanded a fresh CBI probe into the issue.

"The main accused as the prime minister drove around himself...what was the need for the PM to drive himself at that time...because he wanted to take revenge...that is why he went around supervising the killings," he said.

first published:January 29, 2018, 12:56 IST