New Delhi: A Delhi court on Saturday awarded life imprisonment to three persons for attempting to murder members of a Sikh family during the 1984 riots and imposed a fine of Rs 6.20 lakh for being involved in the crime.
Mangal Sen alias Billa, Brij Mohan Verma and Bhagat Singh were held guilty of attempt to murder, rioting, dacoity in Shastri Nagar in north Delhi by Additional Sessions Judge S S Rathi on August 22.
The judge, who had made a strong indictment of the manner in which the Delhi police and the state machinery had acted during the anti-Sikh riots, pronounced the quantum of sentence against the three convicts in a packed court room.
The proceedings in the court witnessed a high drama with a number of relatives of the victims as well as the convicts broke down in the courtroom after the judge pronounced the order on sentence.
During the arguments on the point of sentence, Public Prosecutor Irfan Ahmed sought the maximum punishment of life imprisonment against the convict contending "they committed the crime without provocation. The victims had no defence, they were taken by surprise. The convict had no reason to commit the offence."
He further submitted the convicts should be awarded deterrent punishment in order to send the right message to the society.
All the three convicts, on the other hand, pleaded leniency on the ground of ill-health and their old age.
The anti-riots cell of Delhi police had probed the incident in which one Joginder Singh and his two sons Jagmohan Singh and Gurvinder Singh were seriously injured while their house was burnt by a mob led by the convicts on November one, 1984.
The case was re-investigated by the police on a recommendation of Justice Rangnath Mishra Commission in 1992 following an affidavit filed by Joginder Singh.
The court had framed charges under various provisions of the IPC, including that relating to attempt to murder, against the accused in 2001.
The prosecution produced nine witnesses, including sons of Joginder who had identified the accused during the trial to prove its charges against them.