The Delhi High Court on Tuesday admitted an appeal by the CBI against the acquittal of Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in a case relating to the killing of five Sikhs during the 1984 riots in Delhi.
The bench of Justices G S Sistani and G P Mittal also asked the families of the victims, who too had filed appeals against the acquittal of Kumar by a sessions court, to withdraw their pleas and add their arguments to the CBI appeal.
“Grounds raised by victims in their appeals are treated as additional grounds in the CBI appeal and victims given right to argue there,” the bench said. Hearing in the case has been fixed for October 31.
In its appeal to the High Court, the CBI said the sessions court “erred in acquitting Sajjan Kumar as it was he who had instigated the mob during the riots” that followed the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Two other accused in the case, former MLA Mahender Yadav and Krishan Khokhar, were convicted of rioting, and acquitted of all other charges. Former councillor Balwan Khokhar, retired Navy Captain Bhagmal and Girdhari Lal were awarded life sentences for murder and rioting.
Five men were killed in the Raj Nagar II area of Delhi Cantonment by a mob on November 1 and 2, 1984. Defence witnesses claimed to have seen Sajjan Kumar exhorting crowds to kill Sikhs. The witnesses had also deposed that Khokhar and Yadav were seen in the crowd that had attacked Sikh homes at the time.
In his order, District and Sessions Judge J R Aryan held that Kumar was being given the “benefit of doubt” since “none of the complainants mentioned the name or presence of Sajjan Kumar in any context” prior to Jagdish Kaur’s statement before the Nanavati Commission in 2000.
In its appeal, the CBI argued that the evidence given by the witnesses in the case, including main complainants Jagdish Kaur, Jagsher Singh and Nirpreet Kaur, was “credible evidence” and should not have been disbelieved by the sessions court. The agency also argued that the delay in naming Sajjan Kumar was due to complicity by the