SC seeks CBI reply on parole plea by 1984 riot convict
A bench comprising Chief Justice SA Bobde and justice Aniruddha Bose took note of the submissions made by Khokhar’s counsel that prisons need to be decongested to contain the pandemic as has been suggested by courts as also the governmentUpdated: May 01, 2020 07:24 IST
The Supreme Court on Thursday sought CBI’s response on a plea of former Congress councillor Balwan Khokhar, serving life term in an 1984 anti-Sikh riot case, seeking grant of either interim bail or parole for eight weeks in view of Covid-19 pandemic. Khokhar and former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar are serving life imprisonment in Tihar jail in the case after the Delhi high court convicted them on December 17, 2018.
A bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and justice Aniruddha Bose took note of the submissions made by Khokhar’s counsel that prisons need to be decongested to contain the pandemic as has been suggested by courts as also the government. The bench, hearing the plea via video conferencing, then asked solicitor general Tushar Mehta, representing the CBI, to file the response. Khokhar was earlier granted 4-week parole on January 15 by the top court following the death of his father.
Senior advocate HS Phoolka, who represented riot victims and was in his native village in Punjab, opposed the bail plea.
Earlier, the top court had said that it would hear the bail plea of other convict Sajjan Kumar in the case during summer vacation. Khokhar’s life sentence was upheld by the Delhi high court in 2018, while it had reversed the acquittal of Kumar by the trial court in 2013, 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.
The anti-Sikh riots had broken out after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984 by her two Sikh bodyguards.