New Delhi: The Supreme Court said on Monday that it would take up former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar’s bail plea in August.

Kumar has also challenged the Delhi High Court verdict sentencing him to a life term in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case. The CBI had, last month, told the court that  Kumar’s plea challenging the life term awarded to him by the Delhi High Court in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case should be dismissed.

In its reply on Kumar’s plea seeking bail, the CBI said he had a “large political clout” and was capable of “influencing or terrorising” witnesses in the case pending against him.

It told the apex court said that fair trial in the pending case would not be possible if Kumar was granted bail.

Earlier this year, Supreme Court judge Justice Sanjiv Khanna recused himself from hearing the appeal. The bench had then ordered that the plea of Kumar be listed before an appropriate bench to which Justice Khanna was not part and adjourned the hearing.

Seventy-three-year-old Kumar had surrendered before a trial court on December 31, 2018, to serve the sentence. After his conviction, Kumar had resigned from the Congress party.

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 1-2, 1984 and burning down of a Gurudwara in Raj Nagar Part-II.

At the Mandoli jail, where Kumar is housed since his surrender, Sikh inmates have been kept away as a precautionary measure, jail sources said.

Security was increased and personnel asked to ensure that the two-three Sikh prisoners lodged in the prison were kept away from Kumar.

Kumar is the first big politician to be convicted in the riots. In its judgment on December 17, the high court noted that over 2,700 Sikhs were killed in the national capital, holding that the riots were indeed a “carnage of unbelievable proportions”.

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