Sajjan Kumar, 1984 anti-Sikh riots convict, surrenders in Delhi court to serve life sentence
Former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar surrendered in a local court in Delhi on Monday to serve a life sentence for killing five people of the same family in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots after his plea for an extension of time to start his sentence was rejected by the Delhi High Court.
The high court had set a deadline of December 31 for Kumar to surrender. He surrendered before Metropolitan Magistrate Aditi Garg.
Sajjan Kumar’s acquittal by a lower court was overturned by the Delhi high court on December 17 and was held guilty of burning alive the family in west Delhi’s Raj Nagar during the riots after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi by her two Sikh bodyguards in Delhi nearly 34 years ago. (Live updates)
The 73-year-old Sajjan Kumar had on December 22 approached the Supreme Court challenging the life imprisonment after the Delhi High Court rejected his plea seeking an extension of time till January 30 to surrender for serving his punishment.
He had asked the Delhi high court to let him spend 30 more days with his family. In a 15-point request to put off his jail term by a month, Kumar has spoken about how the high court’s verdict finding him guilty had stunned him and needed time to prep for the jail sentence.
Kumar’s lawyer said Sajjan Kumar will comply with the high court’s judgment as the Supreme Court was not likely to grant a hearing to his appeal against the high court verdict during the vacation, which is ending on January 1.
Anil Kumar Sharma said they have removed the objections in their appeal filed in the top court but since the court was on vacation till January 1, it was not likely to be taken up for hearing by December 31 and also the chances of mentioning for an urgent listing of the appeal was not there. The Supreme Court will open on January 2 after the winter break.
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“Presently, there are no benches in the Supreme Court. Even if we mention the matter for urgent hearing, the registrar will decide whether it will be heard by the bench. No time is left now,” Sharma said, according to news agency PTI.
He said they are yet to engage a senior counsel who would represent Kumar before the top court.
Senior advocate HS Phoolka, who is representing the 1984 anti-Sikh riots victims, had earlier said they had already filed a caveat in the Supreme Court to pre-empt any ex-parte hearing in favour of Kumar.
Sajjan Kumar, who was considered a Congress strongman in the scores of villages on the outskirts of the national capital, appeared before Delhi’s Patiala House Court for hearing in the second case related to the riots, which was registered against him by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on the recommendation of Nanavati Commission. The court has adjourned the matter till January 22.
The anti-Sikh riots cases are being investigated separately by CBI and the special investigation team, set up by the Union home ministry to investigate 1984 riots cases. Thousands of Sikhs were killed across India after Indira Gandhi was killed by her Sikh bodyguards, Satwant Singh, and Beant Singh, on October 31, 1984.