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Breaking: Delhi HC sentences former Congress MP Sajjan Kumar to life imprisonment in 1984 anti-Sikh Riots case
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Breaking: Delhi HC sentences former Congress MP Sajjan Kumar to life imprisonment in 1984 anti-Sikh Riots case

Aditi Singh

The Delhi High Court has convicted Congress leader and former Member of Parliament (MP) Sajjan Kumar for his role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. He has been sentenced to imprisonment for life.

Sajjan Kumar was sentenced to life imprisonment under Section 120B r/w Sections 302, 436, 295, 153A and 153B of the Indian Penal Code.

The High Court reversed the 2013 decision of the trial court and held him guilty of the offences of murder, promoting enmity between groups, and defiling public property.

The conviction of five others – Mahendra Yadav, Captain Bhagmal, Girdhari Lal, Kishan Khokhar and Balwan Khokhar was affirmed by the High Court. Their sentence of life imprisonment awarded by the trial court was confirmed by the High Court.

The judgment was delivered by a Division Bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel.

Justice Muralidhar (Left) and Justice Vinod Goel (Right)
Justice Muralidhar (Left) and Justice Vinod Goel (Right)

The Court in its judgment found that there was active connivance by the police to shield the accused while also suggesting there should be a mechanism to deal with riots which fall into the bracket of genocide.

On October 29 this year, the Bench had reserved its verdict in the appeals against the 2013 decision of the trial court. The case was heard on a day-to-day basis by the Bench from September.

While the trial court had convicted Captain Bhagmal, former Congress Councillor Balwan Khokhar, Girdhari Lal, former MLA Mahender Yadav and Kishan Khokhar, it had given Sajjan Kumar a clean chit.

The lack of corroborative evidence to support the charges framed against Sajjan Kumar led the trial court to refuse to convict Sajjan Kumar solely on the basis of the eye-witness testimony of the complainant in the case, Jagdish Kaur, who had lost her husband, son and three brothers in the riots.

Congress Politician Balwan Khokhar and Capt. Bhagmal Singh
Congress Politician Balwan Khokhar and Capt. Bhagmal Singh

Sajjan Kumar was charged with offences under Section 120B read with Sections 147,148, 302, 395, 427,436, 449, 153A, 295, 505 Indian Penal Code,1860 (IPC), and Section 109 read with Sections 147, 148, 302, 395, 427, 436, 449, 153A, 295, 505 IPC. He was also charged for offence punishable under section 153A.

Khokhar, Bhagmal and Lal were sentenced to life imprisonment for commission of offences under Sections 147,148, 149 and 302 IPC. A three-year jail term was awarded to Mahender Yadav and Kishan Khokhar for commission of offences under Sections 147 and 148 IPC.

The conviction was challenged before the High Court in May 2013. The Agency and the victims also appealed against the acquittal of Sajjan Kumar.

CBI was represented by Special Public Prosecutor Senior Advocate RS Cheema and advocates Tarunnum Cheema and DP Singh assisted by advocates Hiral Gupta and Smrithi Suresh. The complainant, Jagdish Kaur, was represented by Senior Advocate HS Phoolka. 

Senior Advocate Amit Sibal appeared for Sajjan Kumar, while Senior Advocate Sandeep Sethi represented Balwant Khokhar. Captain Bhagmal was represented by Advocate RN Sharma, while Mahendra Yadav and Krishan Khokhar were represented by advocates Vikram Panwar, Vikas Walia and Suyash Sinha. Advocate Aditya Vikram appeared for Girdhari Lal.

RS Cheema (left) and HS Phoolka (Right)
RS Cheema (left) and HS Phoolka (Right)

Phoolka had tweeted the following yesterday.

1984-Riots-Delhi-High-Court-Judgment.pdf
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