The Delhi High Court Thursday granted four weeks’ parole to Balwan Khokhar who, along with former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar, was sentenced to life imprisonment in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.
Justice I S Mehta allowed Khokhar’s plea to be released on parole to file a special leave petition in the Supreme Court challenging the Delhi High Court order of December 17, 2018, convicting him in the case.
The high court had set aside the trial court’s verdict, which acquitted Kumar in a case related to the killings of five Sikhs in the Raj Nagar Part-I area in Palam Colony in southwest Delhi on November 1-2, 1984, and burning down of a gurdwara in Raj Nagar Part-II.
Kumar has already filed an appeal in the Supreme Court challenging the high court’s decision.
The riots had broken out after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984 by her two Sikh bodyguards.
The high court, in its verdict, had also upheld the conviction and varying sentences awarded by the trial court to the other five — Khokhar, retired naval officer Captain Bhagmal, Girdhari Lal and former MLAs Mahender Yadav and Kishan Khokhar.
It had also convicted them for criminal conspiracy to burn down residences of Sikh families and a gurdwara in the area during the riots.
The trial court in 2013 had awarded life term to Balwan Khokhar, Bhagmal and Lal, and a three-year jail term to Yadav and Kishan Khokhar.
Following the high court verdict, life term of Balwan Khokhar, Bhagmal and Lal has been upheld and the sentence of Yadav and Kishan Khokar has been enhanced to 10 years in jail.
The high court, in its judgement, had said that the riots were a “crime against humanity” perpetrated by those who enjoyed “political patronage” and aided by an “indifferent” law enforcement agency.