The Delhi High Court on Monday issued a notice to Congress leader Sajjan Kumar on an appeal of the CBI challenging his acquittal in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case relating to the killing of five Sikhs by a mob in New Delhi.
A bench of justices GS Sistani and GP Mittal asked the Congress leader to file his response to the petition of the probe agency and fixed the matter for further hearing on 27 August.
Congress leader Sajjan Kumar. AFPCongress leader Sajjan Kumar. AFPBesides CBI, victims’ family members Jagdish and Nirpreet Kaur had also challenged the trial court order in the case and their plea would be taken up on 27 August by the same bench.
A lower court had on 30 May let off Kumar in the 29-year-old case 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 eye witness and complainant Jagdish Kaur had submitted her affidavit before 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 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 given three-year jail term for their lesser roles.
The probe agency, in its appeal to the High Court, has said the trial court erred in acquitting Sajjan Kumar as it was he who had instigated the mob during the riots that broke out after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984.
Kumar, a former Lok Sabha MP from Outer Delhi, and five 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, by a mob in Delhi Cantonment’s Raj Nagar area.
The case against Kumar and others was registered in 2005 on a recommendation by Justice G T Nanavati Commission. CBI had filed two charge sheets against him and the other accused in January 2010.