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Anti-Sikh riots case: Delhi HC rejects Sajjan Kumar's plea against retrial

The Delhi High Court today struck down Congress leader Sajjan Kumar's plea seeking a dismissal of the retrial in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case. Kumar and several others had challenged a trial court's order which asked them to be tried again on grounds of rioting and murder of six people in Sultanpuri.

Besides the Congress leader, co-accused Ved Prakash Pial, alias Vedu Pradhan, and Brahmanand Gupta had also moved the High Court against the framing of charges against them in the case relating to killings in Delhi’s Sultanpuri area.

Justice Suresh Kait dismissed the plea of Kumar, who was charged with rioting, murder and destruction of property and paved way for trial in the case. Kumar had contested the trial court order, which in July 2010 framed charges against five accused, including him, for the murder of six people after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi Oct 31, 1984.

Justice Kait also dismissed the cross-appeal of complainant Sheela Kaur seeking to invoke charges of criminal conspiracy against Kumar and the others. She had also opposed the plea to drop charges against Kumar.

Kumar, Brahmanand Gupta, Peru, Khushal Singh and Ved Prakash Pial were charged with rioting, murder and destruction of property, amongst others.

Sajjan Kumar. AP.

Sajjan Kumar. AP.

Justice Suresh Kait, who had deferred the pronouncement of the judgement on 29 April saying further hearing was required, had again reserved the verdict on 24 May after the counsel for the riots victim sought framing of the additional charge of criminal conspiracy against Kumar and co-accused.

Complainant Sheela Kaur, a riot victim, had filed a cross-appeal in the high court seeking to invoke the charge of criminal conspiracy against Kumar and other four accused in the case.

The counsel for Kumar had, however, opposed the conspiracy charge saying no witnesses had alleged the leader conspired with others in the commission of offence.

CBI also said ample “prima facie” evidence was there to frame conspiracy charge against Kumar. In July 2010, a lower court had framed charges against Kumar, Brahmanand Gupta, Peru, Khushal Singh and Ved Prakash in connection with the case in which six persons were killed in Sultanpuri in anti-Sikhs riots that had erupted in Delhi and elsewhere after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on 31 October, 1984.

Besides charges of murder and rioting, the court had also framed charges for the offence of spreading enmity between two communities against the accused in the case.

CBI had filed two charge sheets against Kumar and others in January, 2010 in the riots cases registered in 2005 on the recommendation of Justice G T Nanavati Commission which probed the sequence of events leading to the riots.

A lower court had recently acquitted Kumar in another 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.

However, five other co-accused were held guilty for being a part of the mob that killed five Sikhs at Delhi Cantonment here.

With inputs from PTI and IANS.