New Delhi, India — A prosecution witness in the Indira Gandhi assassination trial said today police tortured and intimidated him into signing a statement against the three Sikhs accused of the killing.
Sikh businessman Gurbax Singh petitioned the court to remove his name from the list of prosecution witnesses and appealed for court protection against the investigators.
In the petition, Gurbax Singh said he was “treated mercilessly during his detention in (a camp) reminiscent of Nazi concentration camps.”
He said he was questioned for four days without food or sleep and then told he would be treated well if he signed a_ prepared statement and promised to repeat it in court.
Gurbax Singh said the statement prepared for his signature by the investigating officer “is false and was never made by the petitioner.”
He said he was released after 17 days, but was arrested again and made to stand before a firing squad until he promised to repeat the statement in court.
The petition said the investigating team was holding another Sikh, Rajinder Singh, in an attempt to force him to testify that five Sikhs, including Gurbax Singh and two of those on trial, were part of a conspiracy to assassinate Gandhi.
The late prime minister was gunned down last Oct. 31 as she walked from her home to her office.
Gurbax Singh was the second prosecution witness to say police coerced him to make a false statement.
An earlier witness was removed from the list and given court protection after a similar complaint.
On trial are policeman Satwant Singh — accused of firing the submachine gun that killed the prime minister — and Kehar and Balbir Singh, who are accused of inciting the murder.
In other testimony today, the man who identified the body, Assistant Police Commissioner Balram Nath, could not identify the handwriting on parts of the inquest report and could not explain why some items concerning the identity of the body were left blank.
He conceded that other entries in the report could have been written by someone other than the police officer in charge but denied a charge by defense attorney Pran Nath Lekhi that the report was fabricated.
Article extracted from this publication >> July 19, 1985