The Home Ministry will set up a Special Investigation Team or SIT within a week to probe the closed cases of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, sources have told NDTV. The SIT, sources add, will be headed by a judge.
The decision to have a relook at the cases Delhi Police closed even before they could reach courts was taken by the Home Ministry last week, before elections were held in Delhi. A formal announcement is yet to be made.
However, the decision had come under fire from the opposition. Both the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party had questioned its timing and called it a gimmick ahead of the Delhi elections.
"The riots called for deep analysis and research. The Aam Aadmi Party had formed a SIT but as soon as our government was removed from power, the Union government put the idea in cold storage," AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal had said before the elections. His party won 67 of the 70 seats in Delhi, a record margin.
Sources said the government's decision came after a report by a panel headed by Justice (retired) G P Mathur suggested that fresh probe be carried out in the instances where despite having evidence, police closed the cases. There were 225 such cases and these included cases against Congress leaders Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler, the committee said.
The riots, in which around 3000 people died, took place after the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards in 1984. It was alleged that the mobs were instigated and in some cases led, by Congress leaders.
Also, since 1984, there have been about 10 separate commissions and committees that have inquired into the incident. The Ranganath Mishra commission was given names, addresses and complete details of 3,870 people killed in Delhi. But surprisingly, the Delhi Police said only 1,419 people were killed. Subsequently, the Delhi government claimed that 2,300 people had been killed. Later on a separate committee established that 2,773 people died in Delhi in the carnage.