Date: 11/02/2014

TOI: US Sikh Group Issues Ad Offering $20,000 For Information On Sonia's US Visit

JALANDHAR: A Sikh human rights group has issued an advertisement in a New York-based newspaper
announcing a reward of $20,000 for a witness who may have seen the Congress president Sonia Gandhi in US from September 2 to 9, 2013. The ad has been issued by US-based Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) after it failed to establish the Congress president's presence in the Big Apple during that period after it filed a human rights violation case against her in a New York court.

SFJ had claimed that Sonia was in New York at that time when it filed the case and even a summons was served on the hospital and security staff where she had gone for treatment.

Announcing a reward of $20K reward for information confirming the Congress chief's presence between September 2 and 9, 2013, SFJ also inserted Sonia's photograph in the ad. "$20,000 reward if you saw Sonia Gandhi from September 2nd to 9th, 2013 in the US and are willing to testify before a US judge," was issued in Friday's edition of "amNewYork".

Justifying issuance of the ad, SFJ held that it started the public ad campaign offering a reward because federal judge Brian M Cogan had earlier rejected its request to grant 21 more days to investigate whether Sonia visited United States between September 2 and 9.

However, the judge granted SFJ time till Saturday to file its opposition to Sonia's motion to dismiss the human rights violation lawsuit due to insufficient service of summons. SFJ legal adviser Gurpatwant Singh Pannun said, "Since Sonia's claim of absence from the United States at the time when the rights group served summons on the Congress (I) president is critical and pivotal to maintain this action, the reward has been offered to unveil the mystery surrounding her presence in New York during September 2013."

US federal court for the eastern district of New York in September 2013 issued summons against Sonia on a complaint filed by SFJ and victims of November 1984 Sikh genocide demanding a jury trial, who sought compensatory and punitive damages against Congress party president for her role in shielding and protecting Kamal Nath, Sajjan Kumar, Jagdish Tytler and other leaders of her party from being prosecuted for their role in leading death squads that killed more than 3,000 Sikhs.

Sikh Rights Group Announces Reward For Information On Sonia

Stepping up the campaign against Congress president Sonia Gandhi in the pending 1984 anti-Sikh riots lawsuit before a U.S. court, New York based Sikh rights group Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) has announced a reward of $20k for information confirming her presence in the United States between September 2 and 9.

According to a statement issued here by Gurpatwant Singh Panun, legal advisor of the SFJ, the group placed an advertisement to this effect in the Friday edition of the daily newspaper, amNewYork that states, "If you saw Sonia Gandhi from Sept. 2 - Sept. 9 in the U.S. and are willing to testify before a U.S. Judge, you will get a reward of $20k."

The matter relates to the case filed by SFJ against Ms. Gandhi and the Congress party under Alien Torts Law, seeking action against them for allegedly protecting and rewarding those Congressmen who instigated and participated in the massacre of Sikhs in Delhi and elsewhere in 1984. Responding to the summons issued by a Federal court, Ms. Gandhi had challenged the U.S. court jurisdiction to hear the rights violations case against her and also denied being served the summons.

Her defence, produced in the court through a signed letter on December 28, was that she was not in New York during the relevant period as claimed by SFJ or on any other date, said the statement.

The SFJ had claimed before the court that it served the summons on September 9 through the security staff of the Sloan Kettering hospital in New York under the information and belief that she was undergoing a medical check up there.