The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will challenge before Delhi High Court the acquittal of Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.
The legal wing of the agency has reportedly found ‘’strong grounds’’ on which the appeal could be based.
As per technical requirements, the CBI appeal will be filed only after the local court pronounces its verdict on the quantum of sentence for five others who were found guilty in the case, said a CBI source. The CBI will also seek the law ministry’s approval for initiation of the process of appeal in the high court to challenge the verdict, said the source.
“Our legal wing, Directorate of Prosecution, has studied the court order and has recommended that there exists sufficient and strong grounds on which the CBI can challenge the acquittal of Sajjan Kumar in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case,” said the source.
The timing of the decision to go in appeal is ostensibly meant to soothe Sikh protesters who have been agitating against the acquittal of Kumar in the city and parts of Punjab, said another source. “The CBI took a decision, in principle, to appeal Kumar’s acquittal even before the court’s pronouncement of its verdict on the quantum of sentence to assure and give a message to those protesting the court’s order,” said the source.
District and Sessions Judge JR Aryan had on April 30 acquitted Kumar of charges of murder and instigating a riotous mob that killed five Sikhs in Delhi Cantonment. The court gave Kumar benefit of the doubt, as the key witnesses were ‘’untrustworthy and inconsistent’’.
The court had noted that key CBI witness Jagdish Kaur — who lost her husband, son and three cousins in the riots — did not name Kumar in her statements to the police or Justice Ranganath Commission in 1985.
Five others — Balwan Khokkar, an ex-councillor, Mahender Yadav, a former legislator, Kishan Khokkar, Girdhari Lal and Captain Bhagmal — were convicted for their involvement in the riots that had broken out after the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Kumar, a former Lok Sabha MP from Outer Delhi who was refused a Congress ticket for 2009 Lok Sabha elections, faces trial in another 1984 riots case. In the third riots case against him the Delhi Police have filed a closure report, saying there was no evidence to implicate him.
The trial court had termed the silence of the Delhi Police, despite appearing to be privy to the killings in November 1984, a serious lapse.
Akali leaders meet Shinde, L-G, issue two-day ultimatum to govt
New Delhi: Protesting against the acquittal of Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, Shiromani Akal Dal (Badal) on Tuesday issued a two-day ultimatum to the government.
The party claimed that if the government fails to accept their demand of death penalty to Kumar and instituting an SIT probe, they will intensify their agitation.
A five-member delegation of SAD leaders met Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and Delhi Lieutenant Governor Tejendra Khanna to put forward their demands.
Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal and his deputy and son Sukhbir Badal are likely to be in Delhi on Wednesday to meet political bigwigs.
The Sikh leaders have been protesting ever since the trial court acquitted Kumar in the case. The protest started from West Delhi followed by agitations in front of the PM’s and Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s houses and later at Parliament. “The L-G had called us for a meeting and told that the government was worried over the way protests were happening in Delhi. He said that we should take back our protest,” said Omkar Singh Thapar, vice-president of Shiromani Akali Dal.