‘I was seen with Sanjay Gandhi during ’84 riots’

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Photo: Shailendra Pandey

The 1984 anti-Sikh riot victims are upset that the court has given you a clean chit.
With the court’s judgment, a few things have come out very clearly. One, that all this while the truth had never been projected and as a result, I was painted as a bad man in my own country. Amidst all this, my constituency supported me like a rock even when I wasn’t representing them in Parliament. There are two booths in my constituency that are totally occupied by ’84 riot victims. I did an experiment there once to prove my innocence. I made two boys who had lost their parents in the riots my polling agents. And I got the maximum number of votes from those very pockets.

You have said, ‘The number of Sikhs killed are small’.
This is totally wrong. Why would I say something like this when my constituency has the maximum number of Sikhs and when I myself belong to a Sikh family? The court has said that these are all concocted stories. My house was full of Sikhs during the ’84 riots. I gave shelter to a lot of them. Then some people started claiming that they had spotted me near a gurdwara during the riots with Sanjay Gandhi. Gandhi died in 1980! So are we still going to trust the authenticity of such statements?

Had Jarnail Singh not flung a shoe at Chidambaram last year, you would have been in Parliament today.
It’s all right. That was all stage-managed by that person. He had written a book before the incident. And he wrote one after it. Since his book lacked masala, he created some for himself. I have already paid a heavy price for some people’s lies. I don’t regret all this now.

You said some Akali Dal members and Congress insiders were targeting you. Who were those people?
See, it doesn’t make any difference now. But there are people who have taken advantage of this. I don’t wish to name names. However, the Congress president [Sonia Gandhi] has been really supportive even when others were trying to pull me down. She believed in me.

Would you claim the same innocence for [fellow accused] Sajjan Kumar and HKL Bhagat?
I don’t want to comment. All I know is that I am out of it.

Key witness Jasbir Singh said he had to leave India because you had threatened him.
What is interesting is that he is an absconder. He has a fake passport and he escaped from this country not because of me, but because a warrant had been issued against him. The funny thing is that people believe this man — who is a criminal — instead of me who has 35 years of political experience and has been a four-time MP.

‘The shoegate was the masala Jarnail Singh wanted to add in his book, so he created it for himself’

According to a TEHELKA investigation, you offered money and influenced another key witness Surinder Singh to change his affidavit.
He didn’t change the affidavit in my favour. He changed it to reflect the truth. Also, he told the court that all of the affidavits on his behalf were initially made by HS Phoolka, the opposition lawyer.

You went on record to say that Phoolka blackmailed you and demanded money.
It is true. He was implicating me falsely. The case is in the courts now.

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