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Last Updated : Mar 25, 2019 07:08 PM IST | Source: PTI

SC to hear Sajjan Kumar's bail plea in anti-Sikh riots case on April 8, Justice Khanna recuses

The case in which Kumar was convicted and sentenced relates to the killing of five Sikhs in Delhi Cantonment's Raj Nagar Part-I area of southwest Delhi on November 1 and 2, 1984, and burning down of a Gurudwara in Raj Nagar Part-II.


The Supreme Court on Monday said that bail plea of former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar, who was sentenced to life term in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, will be heard on April 8 after Justice Sanjiv Khanna once again recused himself from hearing the matter.

On February 25, Justice Khanna had recused himself from hearing Kumar's plea when he was sitting in a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.

73-year-old Kumar has also challenged in the top court the Delhi High Court's December 17 last year verdict awarding him life imprisonment for the "remainder of his natural life" in the case.

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The case in which Kumar was convicted and sentenced relates to the killing of five Sikhs in Delhi Cantonment's Raj Nagar Part-I area of southwest Delhi on November 1 and 2, 1984, and burning down of a Gurudwara in Raj Nagar Part-II.

Anti-Sikh riots had broken out after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984 by her two Sikh bodyguards.

Kumar's application seeking bail in the case came up for hearing on Monday before a bench comprising Justices S A Bobde and Sanjiv Khanna.

"List the instant application for bail on April 8 before a bench of which one of us (Sanjiv Khanna, J) is not a member," the bench said in its order.

Kumar had surrendered before a trial court here on December 31, 2018, to serve the sentence in pursuance of the high court's December 17 verdict.

After his conviction in the case, Kumar had resigned from the Congress party.

The CBI has recently told the apex court that Kumar's plea seeking bail in the case should be dismissed as he has a "large political clout" and is capable of "influencing or terrorising" witnesses in the case pending against him.

It has told the court that fair trial in the pending case would not be possible if Kumar is granted bail.

The top court had earlier admitted Kumar's appeal for hearing and had also issued notice to the CBI on his bail plea seeking its response.

The high court had convicted and sentenced Kumar to spend the remainder of his life in jail for the offences of criminal conspiracy and abetment in commission of crimes of murder, promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of communal harmony and defiling and destruction of a Gurdwara.

It had also upheld the conviction and varying sentences awarded by a trial court to five others — former Congress councillor Balwan Khokhar, retired naval officer Captain Bhagmal, Girdhari Lal and ex-MLAs Mahender Yadav and Kishan Khokhar.

In its judgment, the high court had noted that over 2,700 Sikhs were killed in the national capital during the 1984 riots which was indeed a "carnage of unbelievable proportions".

It had said the riots were a "crime against humanity" perpetrated by those who enjoyed "political patronage" and aided by an "indifferent" law enforcement agency.

The high court had set aside the trial court's 2010 verdict which had acquitted Kumar in the case.

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First Published on Mar 25, 2019 07:00 pm
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