- Kamal Nath has always denied having a role in the riots
- Kamal Nath, along with party colleagues, accused of instigating crowds
- Sajjan Kumar was convicted in one of the cases
A case linked to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, where witnesses alleged the involvement of senior Congress leader Kamal Nath, will be re-opened again following orders from the Union home ministry. Kamal Nath has denied having a role in the riots and was given the benefit of the doubt by the commission investigating it. But references to the case had returned to haunt the Congress after Mr Nath was named the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister last year. His oath ceremony was held amid protests by Sikh groups.
The ministry's decision came days after the arrest of Kamal Nath's nephew Ratul Puri in connection with the AgustaWestland case. Last month, senior Congress leader and former Union Minister P Chidambaram was also arrested by the Central Bureau Of Investigation.
Kamal Nath, along with the party's Delhi leaders Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar, were accused of instigating crowds in 1984 after then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was shot dead by her bodyguards.
Witnesses had alleged that Kamal Nath had led a mob outside central Delhi's Rakabganj gurdwara and two Sikhs were killed in his presence. The Nanavati Commission, which was investigating the riots, had heard testimonies from two people, including then Indian Express reporter, Sanjay Suri, which established Kamal Nath was present at the spot.
Admitting he was present, Kamal Nath had said he was trying to calm the mob down. The Commission said there was no evidence of his involvement.
Sajjan Kumar was convicted in one of the cases.
Last year, the Delhi High Court had upheld the conviction of 88 people in connection with the riots. Its decision came two years after the Centre decided to set up a Special Investigation Team to probe the 220-plus closed cases linked to the riots, which former Home Minister Rajnath Singh had described as "genocide".
The Akali Dal, which is a BJP ally, said the government has met their long-standing demand and called for Kamal Nath's resignation.
Delhi MLA Manjinder Singh Sirsa, a member of the Shiromani Akali Dal, has demanded that Congress President Sonia Gandhi immediately ask Kamal Nath to resign as the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh. He also sought protection for two witnesses who are ready to testify in court against Kamal Nath.
"Reopening of the case against Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath in the #1984sikhgenocide is a victory for the Sikhs. This is the result of our sustained efforts to reopen cases wrongfully deemed as solved. Now, Kamal Nath will pay for his crimes," union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal tweeted.