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Anti-Sikh riots: HC directs police to provide round the clock security to witness Abhishek Verma

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NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court Monday directed the police to continue providing three security personnel round the clock to controversial arms dealer Abhishek Verma, a witness in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots, as he was receiving threats.

Justice Yogesh Khanna said the high court's September 27, 2017 order directing the DCP (South) to provide in three security personnel for the personal security of Verma and his family members be continued till further orders.

The high court asked the CBI and Delhi Police to file replies to Verma's petition seeking directions to the authorities to continue providing round the clock police security cover of three armed PSOs as already provided for the protection of the petitioner (Verma) and his family members from South District Police Lines, Hauz Khas till the examination of the Petitioner is concluded in the riots case before the trial court.

The court said the replies be filed in four weeks and listed the matter for further hearing on November 26.

The court said the submission of Verma's counsel that his presence may be required at the time of trial cannot be brushed aside lightly and also noted that it has been the CBI's claim that he is an important witness.

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.

Advocates Maninder Singh and Dinhar Takiar, representing Verma, told the high court that the security cover provided to him has been suddenly withdrawn by Delhi Police without any prior notice or intimation and also without re-evaluating the threat perception to him and his family members.

The counsel said the security cover was withdrawn by the police on August 8, without any prior notice and it was a violation of the high court's September 27, 2017 order.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.

Delhi Police counsel Sanjay Lao submitted that as per CBI's input, no other test is required to be conducted on Verma and hence there is no use to continue providing security and after assessment, it was withdrawn.

CBI counsel Anil Grover said he will file a reply to the petition and investigation is going on.

Senior advocate H S Phoolka, representing the riots victim, said the alleged accused was provided security for the last 35 years and the police is having problems in providing security to a witness.

“The state counsel is behaving like the counsel of the accused,” he alleged.

The plea said that on August 18, Verma approached a trial court with his grievance and an order was passed asking the police to continue providing the security cover for a month to enable him to approach the appropriate forum.

“Even after the order dated August 18, 2020 passed by the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM), the respondent no.

3 deliberately and willfully chose not to obey and comply with the said direction of the CMM by not providing proper police protection of three police personnel (24x7) to the petitioner and his family members,” the plea said.

It 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 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 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.

(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)

21 Days ago
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