Delhi HC grants bail to convict in 1984 anti-Sikh riots case

Updated on Aug 01, 2018 10:06 AM IST

Retired naval officer Bhagmal, 91, had moved a plea seeking bail on ground of ill-health

(Representative image)
(Representative image)
New Delhi | ByPress Trust of India

The Delhi high court on Tuesday granted bail to a 91-year-old man serving life term in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case on health grounds.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Gita Mittal and justice Anu Malhotra released retired naval officer Captain Bhagmal on bail for a period of six weeks.

“Keeping in view the age and health condition of the appellant, we grant him bail for a period of six weeks,” the bench said while imposing the same conditions which it had issued earlier.

Bhagmal, through his counsel, had moved the plea seeking bail on ground of ill health.

During the hearing, senior advocate HS Phoolka, appearing for the 1984 anti-Sikh riots victims, sought an early hearing in the matter and argued that 34 years have passed since the tragic incident, but the justice was yet to be delivered in the case.

He told the court that the he would move an application seeking early hearing on day-to-day basis for speedy disposal of the case. The bench then posted the matter for hearing on August 3.

Bhagmal, former Congress councillor Balwan Khokhar, Girdhari Lal and two others were held guilty in a case relating to the murder of five members of a Sikh family in Raj Nagar area of Delhi Cantonment on November 1, 1984, after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

They challenged the conviction and the sentence awarded by the trial court in May 2013.

The trial court had acquitted Congress leader Sajjan Kumar, but awarded life term to Bhagmal, Khokhar and Girdhari Lal and three-year jail term to two others — former MLA Mahender Yadav and Kishan Khokhar.

The convicts have filed appeals before the high court while the CBI too has filed an appeal alleging that they were engaged in “a planned communal riot” and “religious cleansing”. The agency has also appealed against Kumar’s acquittal.

The high court had on March 29 issued show-cause notices to 11 accused, including Khokhar and Yadav, in five 1984 anti-Sikh riots cases.

The accused, who were acquitted of the charges, were asked why should the court not order reinvestigation and retrial against them as they faced allegations of “horrifying crimes against humanity”.

The bench had issued notices on the complaints filed regarding the violent incidents on November 1 and 2, 1984, in the Delhi Cantonment area.

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