NEW DELHI: Akali Dal leader Simiranjit Singh Mann and Khalistan Liberation Organization chief Atinder Pal Singh are amongst the four people likely to be implicated for an alleged conspiracy to kill late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
A charge sheet is being processed naming them on the basis of a report by an investigation team lead by Inspector General Police Anant Ram which had interrogated these two Sikhs as well as former personal assistant of Mrs Gandhi, R.K. Dhawan.
The government move came as it seeks to deflect the charges against Dhawan who was recently appointed as an officer on special duty, attacked Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
After a long and acrimonious debate following the printing of extracts from the Thakkar Commission in the Indian Express on March 7 which implicated Dhawan, Rajiv announced on March 20 that he would show the secret report to the parliament within 10 days.
Indira Gandhi was assassinated by Beant Singh and Satwant Singh on 31 October at her residence in New Delhi.
Both gave themselves up after the assassination. Beant Singh was killed and Satwant Singh injured when two men from the Indo Tibetian Border Police, who were supposedly guarding them, fired at them with automatic weapons. No action was taken against them.
Satwant Singh and an uncle of Beant Singh, Kehar Singh were hanged in New Delhi. Kehar Singh was said to be a conspirator in the assassination but he is widely believed by most Indians to have been innocent.
A petition by Rajinder Singh, son of Kehar Singh in the Supreme Court for a retrial was delayed according to his Lawyer Rani Jethmalani.
Jethmalani said the filing was postponed because of the government’s decision to present the Thakkar Commission report to the Parliament on March 27. She added that she would seck Kehar Singh’s posthumous acquittal.
Mann has been under detention under the draconian National Security Act, and Atinder Pal Singh is presently under the custody of the Patiala police.
The Thakkar Commission Report will be tabled in the Parliament on March 27. The Anant Ram inquiry report is to be shown to the parliament subsequently.
Commenting on this latest move Canadian daily, “Globe and Mail” in its March 21 issue said,
”His (Dhawan’s) sudden political resurrection followed immediately by the damning Thakkar leaks has fueled endless conspiracy theories. But, so far, there is nothing to indicate who really killed Indira Gandhi.
The awful irony, of course, is that two Sikhs were hanged for the crime just 10 weeks ago. Their attorneys spent years begging various courts to unveil the Thakkar Report and summon its suspects including Mr. Dhawan to testify.
”Only now, with that fight irretrievably lost, has the Gandhi government decided to comply.
”My client pleaded to summon these bigwigs into the witness box whose names are found at the sharp end of Justice Thakkar’s needle of suspicion,” says R.S. Sodhi, lawyer for the hanged assassin Satwant Singh. “Unfortunately none of the three courts would listen.”
Was Mrs. Gandhi killed by a pair of disgruntled Sikh security guards? Or did the conspiracy extend deep into her own government? Was the plot as so many Indians suspect, funded by the “foreign hand” of a nation friendly to India?
The answers may begin pouring in next Monday. But the more likely result is another round of confusion and controversy.
I doubt that Thakkar knows who did it,” growls a cynical opposition MP. “Even if he did the government has 10 days to doctor his report however it likes. If the truth is too damning you can bet we’ll never see it.
A press release by Gian Singh Sandhu, World Sikh Organization (International) said, “The World Sikh Organization has persistently maintained that the assassination of Mrs. Gandhi had much deeper connections within her political bureau.
”The recent uproar in the Indian Lok Sahba (lower house) has come too late for the Sikhs who were hanged on January 6, 1989. However, this certainly has confirmed our suspicions. This also confirms that the Indian political system has become so corrupt and insensitive to the real meaning of justice.
“The fears expressed by an Indian Opposition M.P. in Bryan Johnson article in Globe & Mail of March 21, 1989 that “the Indian government has 10 days to doctor the report, and if the Truth is too damning, you can bet, we’ll never see it,” ought to be taken seriously by the western democracies.
We seek sympathetic ears from the Nations committed to the independence of judiciary to monitor the development of this case in India.”