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1984 anti-Sikh riots: SC hears Sajjan Kumar’s plea against conviction, issues notice to CBI

The former Congress leader surrendered before Metropolitan Magistrate on December 31 and was sent to Mandoli jail in northeast Delhi.

1984 anti-Sikh riots: SC hears Sajjan Kumar’s plea against conviction, issues notice to CBI

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday issued a notice to CBI on an appeal filed by Congress leader Sajjan Kumar challenging the verdict delivered by Delhi High Court in December 2018 convicting and sentencing the veteran former Congress leader to life imprisonment for criminal conspiracy to commit murder in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.

While delivering the verdict, the Delhi HC had ordered Sajjan Kumar to surrender by December 31. The former Congress leader surrendered before Metropolitan Magistrate on December 31 and was sent to Mandoli jail in northeast Delhi.

Kumar was convicted for his involvement in the murder of five Sikhs in Raj Nagar Part-I area in Palam Colony of southwest Delhi and burning down of a Gurudwara in Raj Nagar Part-II. The anti-Sikh riots had erupted in Delhi and several other parts of the country after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984 by her Sikh bodyguards.

The High Court called the anti-Sikh riots a “carnage of unbelievable proportions” and a “crime against humanity” perpetrated by those who enjoyed “political patronage” and aided by an “indifferent” police and other law enforcement agencies.

"This court is of the view that the mass killings of Sikhs in Delhi and elsewhere in November 1984 were in fact 'crimes against humanity'. They will continue to shock the collective conscience of society for a long time to come," a bench of Justice S Muralidhar and Justice Vinod Goel had said.

On his part, Sajjan Kumar had filed a plea in the HC, seeking 30 more days to surrender but his request was rejected by the Court. The former Congress leader then approached the Supreme Court challenging the HC verdict.

The high court had set aside the trial court's 2010 verdict which had acquitted Kumar in the case. After his conviction in the case, Kumar had resigned from the Congress party.

(With Agency inputs)