The Delhi High Court on Tuesday admitted the CBI’s appeal against the acquittal of Sajjan Kumar in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case. This particular case is related to the killing of five Sikhs in Delhi Cantonment area.
A bench of justices GS Sistani and GP Mittal asked Kumar to appear before the registrar general of the high court and furnish bail bonds on September 2.
It asked the families of the victims, who had also filed similar appeals against the trial court’s May 30 order letting off Kumar in the 29-year-old case, to withdraw their pleas and add their arguments to the CBI plea.
The bench fixed October 31 for hearing the case.
The probe agency, in its appeal to the high court, said the trial court made a mistake in acquitting Sajjan Kumar as he had instigated the mob during the riots that broke out after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984.
A special court had on May 30 let off Kumar, saying he deserved the “benefit of doubt” as key witness Jagdish Kaur did not name him as an accused in her statement given to the Justice Ranganath Mishra panel in 1985.
“It was a matter of fact that when eyewitness and complainant Jagdish Kaur had submitted her affidavit before the Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission in 1985, she had not mentioned the name of Sajjan Kumar in any manner though the other accused had been named,” it had said.
The trial court, however, had held five others guilty in the case and awarded varying jail terms to them for being part of the mob that killed the Sikhs. Ex-councillor Balwan Khokkar, Girdhari Lal and retired naval officer Captain Bhagmal were given life term, while the remaining two, former MLA Mahender Yadav and Kishan Khokkar, were sentenced to three-years in jail for their lesser roles.
The CBI has also challenged the acquittal of former MLA Mahender Yadav and Kishan Khokkar from some of the criminal charges, including murder, looting and burning of properties. Kumar, a former Lok Sabha MP from Outer Delhi and others were tried in the case dealing with the killing of five Sikhs - Kehar Singh, Gurpreet Singh, Raghuvender Singh, Narender Pal Singh and Kuldeep Singh, who were members of the same family.