New Delhi: Congress leader Sajjan Kumar deserved the "benefit of doubt" in an anti-Sikh riots case as one of the victims and key witness Jagdish Kaur did not name him as an accused in her statement recorded by the Justice Ranganath Mishra panel in 1985, a Delhi court has said.
Allowing Kumar to walk free in the 29-year-old case relating to the killings of five Sikhs, District and Sessions Judge JR Aryan, in his 129-page verdict, said the subsequent testimony of victim Kaur that she had seen him instigating a mob with his provocative speech was "not acceptable and believable".
"It was a matter of fact that when eye witness and complainant Jagdish Kaur had submitted her affidavit before Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission in 1985, she had not mentioned the name of Sajjan Kumar in any manner though the other accused had been named," the court said, adding the name of the leader came during subsequent statement.
The court, however, lent credence to the testimonies of Kaur and other witnesses against five co-accused as they (witnesses) had named them before the panel and in the subsequent proceedings also.
Dealing with the role of the leader, the court said "in all these facts and circumstances, testimony of Jagdish Kaur that she heard and saw Sajjan Kumar addressing a gathering with provocative and instigating utterances is not acceptable and believable and to that extent the witness is not believable.
"Except a role of conspiracy or abetting, no other act or role has been attributed to Sajjan Kumar by the prosecution. Accordingly, accused Sajjan Kumar deserving to be a benefit of doubt is acquitted of the charge."