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Supreme Court orders new SIT to probe 186 anti-Sikh riot closed cases

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday constituted a fresh Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by a retired High Court Judge to further investigate 186 anti-Sikh riot cases closed by an earlier SIT.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud ordered the constitution of the new SIT — comprising a serving Indian Police Service officer and a retired one — on receipt of a report by a supervisory committee that said that of the 241 cases closed by the earlier SIT, 186 were closed without further investigation.

The name of the retired High Court Judge to head the new SIT and of the two officers will be finalised on Thursday.

The 242 cases were scrutinised by the supervisory committee comprising former Supreme Court Justices J.M. Panchal and K.S. Radhakrishnan.

Rampaging mobs had killed around 3,000 Sikhs in Delhi and elsewhere across India in the aftermath of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination by two of her security guards on October 31, 1984, in the national capital. The official figures of Sikhs killed was around 2,800.

The top court, by its order of September 1, 2017, had set up the supervisory panel to examine the justification for closure of anti-Sikh riot cases probed by the earlier SIT.

The committee was given three months to examine the closed cases and submit its report.

The earlier SIT had examined 293 cases. Of the 241 cases, 55 were closed and no further investigation took place in 186 others.

The court’s order to set up the new SIT came on a petition by Gurlad Singh Kahlon, a member of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee.

Kahlon had contended that the SIT set up in February 2015 to investigating the cases closed earlier for lack of sufficient evidence had utterly failed in carrying out the probe.