1984 anti-Sikh riots case: SC asks CBI to apprise it of status of ongoing trial of Sajjan Kumar

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The Supreme Court Monday asked the CBI to apprise it of the status of the ongoing trial in a case involving former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in connection with the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and listed his bail plea for hearing on April 15. The CBI told a bench of Justices S A Bobde and S A Nazeer that Kumar, who was a sitting MP in 1984, was the kingpin of the massacre of Sikhs in the national capital in 1984. This is a gruesome offence of massacre of Sikhs. He (Kumar) was the leader and he was the kingpin of this, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CBI, told the bench. Mehta also told the bench it would be a travesty of justice if Kumar is enlarged on bail as he is facing trial in another 1984 anti-Sikh riots case at Patiala House district court here. The bench said that it would hear on April 15 bail plea of Kumar, who was convicted and sentenced to life term by the Delhi High Court in connection with a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case. The case in which Kumar was convicted and sentenced relates to the killing of five Sikhs in Delhi Cantonments 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. 73-year-old Kumar has also challenged in the top court the Delhi High Courts December 17 last year verdict awarding him life imprisonment for the remainder of his natural life in the case. Kumar had surrendered before a trial court here on December 31, 2018, to serve the sentence in pursuance of the high courts 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 Kumars 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 Kumars 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 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 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 courts 2010 verdict which had acquitted Kumar in the case.

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