Former Member of Parliament Sajjan Kumar, who was facing arrest after refusing to appear before the trial court in two 1984 anti-Sikh riots cases against him, got major relief on Friday with the Delhi High Court granting him anticipatory bail.
The court questioned the Central Bureau of Investigation's (CBI) move to arrest Kumar now that the chargesheets had been filed, when it never felt the need while investigations were on for the past five years.
Kumar been asked to furnish a personal bond of Rs 50,000.
Justice A K Pathak termed the offence charges against Kumar of "grave nature" but noted "25 years have gone by and this delay undoubtedly tilts the balance in favour of the petitioners, at least for the purpose of granting bail to them".
Rejecting the CBI's argument that politically influential Kumar will threaten witnesses if released on bail, Justice Pathak told the CBI Kumar was never in custody for the past 25 years and even then witnesses came forward and gave statements against him.
"There is no specific allegation against Kumar of having threatened or influenced any of the witnesses," said the judge.
Kumar has been charged with making provocative speeches following the assassination of Indira Gandhi, leading to killing of a large number of Sikhs in Delhi Cantonment and Sultanpuri areas.