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1984 riots accused dies,trial deferred

Court to set date for hearing on August 13,defence lawyers claim they didn’t know about death

Written by D K RITURAJ | New Delhi | Published: July 31, 2013 12:49 am

A city court,which was to set the date for commencement of trial in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case against Congress leader Sajjan Kumar and four others on Tuesday,deferred the matter to August 13,following the death of one of the accused in the case.

Judge J R Aryan was informed in the court that co-accused Khushal Singh had passed away. The defence lawyers claimed that they did not have any knowledge about the death before the hearing due to a “communication gap”.

The court directed the police to submit a verification report on the death of the accused and scheduled August 13 for deciding the date for commencement of the trial.

Considering the request of the prosecution for a speedy trial,the judge agreed to conduct the trial for three days a week between 2 pm and 5 pm.

H S Phoolka,the counsel representing the victims in the case,filed an application for providing security to the witnesses. He insisted that security be provided to the witnesses since two of the 11 witnesses were dead,one was seriously ill and most of the remaining witnesses were destitute.

Bhagwan Bai,a key witness in the case who passed away on Sunday,had claimed that she had seen Kumar leading a mob and instigating them to kill Sikhs. Another witness,Kamala,had passed away earlier this year.

Remarking that no specific complaint of intimidation of the witnesses had been brought to the notice of the court,Judge Aryan asked police to ensure that the witnesses were able to depose freely.

CBI had filed a chargesheet against Sajjan Kumar,Brahmanand Gupta,Peru,Ved Prakash and Khushal Singh — in January 2010 in connection with the killing of six persons in the Sultanpuri area during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. Cases had been registered against them following the recommendations of the Nanavati Commission in 2005.

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