New Delhi: The Delhi High Court will on Monday pronounce its verdict on the pleas challenging a trial court’s judgment in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, in which Congress leader Sajjan Kumar was acquitted while five others were convicted. A bench comprising of Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel will hear the pleas.
Former Congress councillor Balwan Khokhar, retired naval officer Captain Bhagmal, Girdhari Lal and two others were held guilty in the case relating to the murder of five members of a family in Raj Nagar area of Delhi Cantonment on November 1, 1984, after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi. (Also Read: SAD Seeks Justice For Families of 1984 Anti-Sikh Riot Victims, Union Minister Badal Detained
The trial court had acquitted Sajjan Kumar in the case, but awarded life term to Khokhar, Bhagmal and Lal, and a three-year jail term to two others – former MLA Mahender Yadav and Kishan Khokhar.
The convicts had challenged their conviction and sentencing by the trial court in May 2013.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had also filed an appeal, alleging they were engaged in “a planned communal riot” and “religious cleansing”. The agency and the victims have also appealed against the acquittal of Kumar.
The high court had on March 29 last year issued show cause notices to 11 accused, including Khokhar and Yadav, in five 1984 anti-Sikh riots cases which were earlier closed. The matter is being heard by another division bench.
The accused, who were acquitted of the charges, were asked as to why should the court not order reinvestigation and retrial against them as they faced allegations of “horrifying crimes against humanity”.
Notably, Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel had on October 29 concluded hearing arguments on the appeals filed by the CBI, riots victims, and the convicts, and reserved the judgment.
About the anti-Sikh riots
About 2,800 Sikhs were killed across India, including 2,100 in Delhi, during the clash that broke out after then prime minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards.
Of the 650 cases registered in connection with anti-Sikh riots in Delhi, 267 were closed as untraced by the Delhi Police. Of these 267 cases, five were later taken up by the CBI. The SIT also scrutinised the records of 18 cancelled cases.
The SIT found 60 cases appropriate for further investigation. It filed “untraced report” in 52 cases in the last one-and-a-half years.
(With agency inputs)