1984 riots: Sajjan Kumar’s anticipatory bail plea rejected

New Delhi, Feb 15 (IANS) A city court Monday rejected the anticipatory bail plea of former union minister and senior Congress leader Sajjan Kumar, accused in two cases during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in the capital, as the charges against him were ‘serious’.

‘Keeping in view the seriousness of the allegations, I am of the view that the accused are not entitled for bail and discretion of granting bail at any stage should be left with the trial court which has taken cognisance,’ Sessions Judge P.S. Teji said, rejecting the petition.

The court also pointed out that as per the direction of the Delhi High Court, the trial has to be completed within six months.

Now Sajjan Kumar can be arrested any time, if required, by the investigating agency.

The court also rejected the anticipatory bail plea of other six co-accused in the case on the same grounds.

Earlier in the day, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) opposed the anticipatory bail plea on the grounds that Sajjan Kumar may influence witnesses if granted bail.

CBI counsel Y.K. Saxena argued that the case was sensitive in nature and people’s emotions were attached to it.

‘Although no complaint was ever registered against Sajjan Kumar and other accused in the case, the fact is that witnesses are scared and did not feel safe. Many people have left Delhi because of fear,’ CBI said adding that they might need to take Sajjan Kumar in custody for interrogation.

Arguing on behalf of Sajjan Kumar, senior advocate I.U. Khan said the case had been dragging on for years but he had never tried to influence any witness or tamper with evidence.

‘No complaint of any misconduct with the case property or of threatening has ever registered against him,’ Khan said.

Senior advocate H.S. Phoolka, appearing on behalf of the riot victims, said: ‘It is a case of sensitive nature. Prosecution had became the instrument in the hands of the criminals in which the accused persons were acquitted.’

‘Victims are running from pillar to post for the past 25 years,’ he added.

The CBI had filed two charge sheets against Sajjan Kumar and others Jan 13.

The first charge sheet relates to the killing of five people in the Delhi Cantonment area, and the second to the death of many in riots in Sultanpuri. Sajjan Kumar and others were charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including 302 (murder), 153-A (rioting) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy).

Sajjan Kumar is among those accused of instigating mobs that killed over 3,000 Sikhs across Delhi in the days following the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi on Oct 31, 1984.

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