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Sajjan Kumar’s acquittal: Arguments on quantum of sentence on May 9

Kumar was given benefit of doubt by court which said one of victims Jagdish Kaur did not name him.

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Published: May 4, 2013 9:22:09 pm

A Delhi court today fixed May 9 for hearing arguments on quantum of punishment in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case in which Congress leader Sajjan Kumar was acquitted while five persons were convicted for being a part of the mob that killed five Sikhs here.

District Judge J R Aryan,who was scheduled to hear the arguments on point of sentence in the case on May 6,deferred the matter for May 9 after CBI prosecutor,senior advocate R S Cheema,expressed his inability to appear before it on the earlier date.

Cheema told the court that he would not be able to advance arguments on May 6 as he would not be available on that day.

Kumar was given benefit of doubt by the court which said one of the victims and key witness Jagdish Kaur did not name him as an accused in her statement recorded by the Justice Ranganath Mishra panel in 1985.

While freeing Kumar,the other five accused– Balwan Khokkar,an ex-councillor,Mahender Yadav,an ex-MLA,Kishan Khokkar,Girdhari Lal and Captain Bhagmal– have been held guilty on April 30 for the offences including murder,rioting and unlawful assembly by the armed rioters.

The judge in his judgement has said it has been proved that the convicts are guilty of rioting,armed with deadly weapons and unlawful assembly on November 1,1984 at around 7.30 pm near Gurudwara Raj Nagar.

The court has said it has been proved that there was a rioting mob,including the convicts,and they were armed with weapons like lathis and rods and they did indulge in violence.

“…accused of the present case namely Bhagmal,Balwan Khokar,Krishan Khokar and Mahender Yadav were part of that rioting mob and the mob was armed with weapons,lathis and sarias,” it has said.

The court had added that Jagdish Kaur’s testimony was “believable and acceptable” that on November 2,1984,Girdhari and Bhagmal were part of the rioting mob when the mob had assaulted and killed victim Narender Pal Singh.

The court,however,had said that the testimony of Kaur that she had seen Kumar instigating a mob with his provocative speech was “not acceptable and believable”.

The case relates to anti-Sikh riots that had broken out after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31,1984. Gandhi was shot dead by two of her bodyguards at her residence here.

The case,in which these five persons were held guilty,deals with the death of five Sikhs — Kehar Singh,Gurpreet Singh,Raghuvender Singh,Narender Pal Singh and Kuldeep Singh — who were members of the same family and were killed by the mob in Delhi Cantonment’s Raj Nagar area.

Deceased Kehar and Gurpreet were the husband and son respectively of complainant and eye witness Jagdish Kaur while Raghuvender,Narender and Kuldeep were the brothers of Kaur and another witness Jagsher Singh.

The case against Kumar and others was registered in 2005 on a recommendation by Justice G T Nanavati Commission. CBI had filed two charge sheets against him and the other accused in January 2010.

The trial court had in May 2010 framed charges against Kumar and the five others under Sections 302 (murder),395 (dacoity),427 (mischief to cause damage to property),153-A (promoting enmity between different communities),120B (criminal conspiracy) and other provisions of the IPC.

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