The Delhi High Court today extended till August 18 the interim bail granted to a former Congress councillor, serving life term in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, to enable him to arrange funds to pay his lawyers. A bench of acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Anu Malhotra granted the relief to Balwan Khokhar who has sought extension of bail till October to finalise the sale of his properties. The court while extending the bail till August 18 asked the CBI to verify Khokhar’s claims that he has received a consideration of Rs four lakh and sale would be finalised by October.
His application for extension was moved as the 14-day bail granted to him by the court on July 20 had expired. Congress leader Sajjan Kumar had been acquitted in this riots case by the trial court but Khokhar was convicted along with four others. Khokhar, retired naval officer Captain Bhagmal, Girdhari Lal and two others were held guilty in a 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. They had challenged their conviction and the award of life sentence by the trial court in May 2013.
The trial court had acquitted Congress leader Sajjan Kumar but awarded life term to Khokhar, Bhagmal and Girdhari Lal and three-year jail term to two others — former MLA Mahender Yadav and Kishan Khokhar. The convicts have filed appeals before the High Court while CBI too has filed an appeal alleging that they were engaged in “a planned communal riot” and “religious cleansing”. The agency has also appealed against acquittal of Kumar. The high court had on March 29 issued show cause notices to 11 accused including Khokhar and Yadav in five 1984 anti- Sikh riots cases. The accused, who were acquitted of the charges, were asked why should the court not order reinvestigation and retrial against them as they faced allegations of “horrifying crimes against humanity”.