The Delhi High Court on Thursday cancelled the bail granted on medical grounds to an 89-year-old convict serving life term in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case and asked him to surrender on July 17. A bench of acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Anu Malhotra issued the direction after the CBI opposed the extension of the suspension of the sentence of retired naval officer Captain Bhagmal. The agency, in its status report, said Bhagmal’s medical reports showed that he does not suffer from any chronic disease and the ailments were common at his age.
“The convict does not deserve any leniency and his application for the extension of the suspension of the sentence may kindly be summarily dismissed with costs in the interest of justice,” it said while opposing the bail plea. Taking note of the CBI’s contention, the bench said that it did not find any ground to extend the convict’s bail. It directed Bhagmal to surrender on July 17. The convict was already on interim bail since March 24 on medical grounds.
Bhagmal, through his counsel, had stated that he was suffering from enlarged prostrate for which he had to undergo surgery which would require him to remain hospitalised. The bench had earlier directed him to give the address where he would be available and the mobile number on which he could be contacted by the CBI during the interim suspension of his sentence. It had asked him not to get in touch with any witness or the legal heirs of the deceased.
“In case, there is a violation of this condition, it will be open to the CBI to move an application for recall of this order,” it had said, adding that Bhagmal will not leave the National Capital Territory of Delhi without its permission. Bhagmal, former Congress councillor Balwan Khokhar, Girdhari Lal and two others were held guilty in a case relating to the murder of five members of a family in Raj Nagar area of Delhi Cantonment on November 1, 1984, after the assassination of prime minister Indira Gandhi. They had challenged their conviction and the sentence awarded by the trial court in May 2013.
The trial court had acquitted Congress leader Sajjan Kumar, but awarded life term to Bhagmal, Khokhar and Girdhari Lal and a three-year jail term to two others — former MLA Mahender Yadav and Kishan Khokhar. The convicts have filed appeals before the high court, while the CBI filed an appeal alleging that they were engaged in “a planned communal riot” and “religious cleansing”. The agency has also appealed against acquittal of Kumar.
The high court had on March 29 this year issued show cause notice to 11 people including Khokhar and Yadav in five 1984 anti-Sikh riot cases. The accused, who were acquitted of the charges, were asked why should the court should not order reinvestigation and retrial against them as they faced allegations of “horrifying crimes against humanity”. The bench had issued notices on the complaints filed regarding the violent incidents on November 1 and 2, 1984 in the Delhi Cantonment area.