NEW DELHI, India: The trial in the Indira Gandhi assassination case was not fair because the trial court had denied the main accused an opportunity to build up his defense, the defense counsel, Mr R. S. Sodhi, submitted before the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

Resuming his arguments on the appeal filed by Satwant Singh, the lone surviving assassin, the counsel said Satwant had been made a “convenient scapegoat” in a larger conspiracy to kill Indira Gandhi for “tangible gains”.

Satwant Singh fitted the design which appeared convenient because of “Operation Bluster” which had already taken place and was the unfolding of the larger conspiracy, he said.


The appeal is being heard by a Division Bench comprising Justice G. L. Oza, Justice B. C. Ray and Justice K. Jagannatha Shetty.

Mr Sodhi said the prosecution deliberately produced witnesses who were “convenient and easily controllable” and withheld the evidence of witnesses who were knowledgeable and could have assisted the defense in unearthing the “larger conspiracy of operation to kill Indira”.

To illustrate further, he alleged that Mr M. L. Fotedar, Mr R. K. Dhawan and Mrs. Sonia Gandhi were not produced and similarly Dr. T. D. Dogra was produced while other doctors, who could have testified that Dr. Dogra did not perform the postmortem, were conveniently withheld.

Observing that all his submissions were turned down as “fanciful and vexatious”, Mr. Sodhi said even the crucial matter of posting Satwant Singh to the TMC gate remained unexplained and the most unaccepted explanation was sought to be relied upon by the High Court, namely that Satwant Singh was posted at the TMC gate because he was suffering from dysentery, he said.

Mr. Sodhi said the explanation that Satwant Singh was posted at the TMC gate due to his indisposition was itself self-defeating because no guard could be posted if he was unfit.

This also clearly showed that Satwant Singh did not ask to be posted at the TMC gate and his posting was deliberate in keeping with the “operation kill Indira” designed by “those in power”, he said.

He further said the killing of Beant Singh and Satwant Singh’s injuries were not investigated as part of the “conspiracy”.

He said the bullets were also not examined to prove whether they were removed from Mrs. Gandhi’s body.

Mr. Sodhi reiterated that Satwant Singh did not fire any shot from his gun and the gun which was purported to have been used for killing Mrs. Gandhi did not bear Satwant Singh’s fingerprints.

Article extracted from this publication >> April 29, 1988