1984 riots: HC notices to Sajjan,5 others on CBI appeal

The Delhi High Court on Monday issued notices to former Congress MP Sajjan Kumar and five others in a case related to the killing of five men during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

Written by Aneesha Mathur | New Delhi | Published: July 23, 2013 1:23 am

The Delhi High Court on Monday issued notices to former Congress MP Sajjan Kumar and five others in a case related to the killing of five men in the Delhi Cantonment area during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots on an appeal filed by the CBI against their acquittal.

In its plea heard by the bench of Justice G S Sistani and Justice G P Mitttal,the CBI has said that the trial court “erred in acquitting Sajjan Kumar as it was he who had instigated the mob during the riots”.

The CBI has challenged a Sessions court of April 30,which had acquitted Sajjan Kumar of all charges in the case. The agency had chargesheeted the accused under nine offences,including murder,rioting,fostering enmity among two communities,trespass,looting and arson,among others.

Two other accused in the case,former MLA Mahender Yadav and Krishan Khokhar,were convicted of rioting,and acquitted of all other charges. Former councillor Balwan Khokhar,retired Navy Captain Bhagmal and Girdhari Lal were awarded life sentences for murder and rioting.

Five men were killed in the Raj Nagar II area of the Delhi Cantonment by the mob on November 1 and 2,1984,following the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Defence witnesses claimed to have seen then MP Sajjan Kumar exhorting crowds to kill Sikhs. The witnesses had also deposed that Khokhar and Yadav were seen in the crowd that had attacked Sikh homes at the time.

In his order,District and Sessions Judge J R Aryan held that Kumar was being given the “benefit of doubt” since “none of the complainants mentioned the name or presence of Sajjan Kumar in any context” prior to Jagdish Kaur’s statement before the Nanavati Commission in 2000.

In its appeal,the CBI argued that the evidence given by the witnesses in the case,including main complainants Jagdish Kaur,Jagsher Singh and Nirpreet Kaur was “credible evidence” and should not have been disbelieved by the court. The agency has also argued that the delay in naming Sajjan Kumar was due to complicity by the police,which had failed to register FIRs and conduct proper investigations in the aftermath of the riots.

The Delhi High Court issued notices to all six accused,asking them to reply to the CBI plea and fixed the matter for hearing on August 27. The court will be hearing the pleas filed by the families of the victims against the acquittal on the same day. Earlier this month,complainant and primary witness Jagdish Kaur,who lost five members of her family in the riots,had approached the High Court with three separate petitions — one against Kumar’s acquittal,another against the acquittal of Yadav and Khokhar of murder charges,and the third demanding death penalty for the three convicted of murder.

Captain Bhagmal has also moved the High court in appeal against his conviction,and a different bench of the High Court had issued notice to the CBI and the families of the victims,seeking a reply.

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