1984 Riots: Sajjan Kumar Surrenders, To Be Lodged in Mandoli Jail

Sajjan Kumar has been sentenced to life for “remainder of his natural life” by the Delhi HC in 1984 Sikh riots case.

3 min read
Sajjan Kumar quit Congress a day after his conviction in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.

Congress leader Sajjan Kumar and former MLAs Kishan Khokhar and Mahender Yadav, who were convicted in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, surrendered before a Delhi court on Monday, 31 December, to serve their respective terms.

Kumar surrendered before Metropolitan Magistrate Aditi Garg who directed him to be be lodged in Mandoli jail in northeast Delhi.

They were convicted in the case in which 73-year-old Kumar was sentenced to life for the "remainder of his natural life" by the Delhi High Court on 17 December.

Khokhar and Yadav surrendered before Metropolitan Magistrate Aditi Garg after the court accepted their application to surrender.

The court rejected Kumar's petition to be lodged in the high-security Tihar jail, but allowed his plea for security and directed the police to take him to the prison in a separate vehicle.

The Delhi High Court had set a deadline of 31 December for them to surrender and undergo their prison terms.

The case relates to killing of five Sikhs in Raj Nagar part-I area in Palam Colony in South West Delhi on 1-2 November 1984 and burning down of a Gurudwara in Raj Nagar part II. Riots had broken out after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi on 31 October, 1984 by her two Sikh bodyguards.

The high court had on 21 December rejected Kumar’s plea seeking extension till 31 January 2019 to surrender.

The former Congress leader had sought more time to surrender, saying he had to settle the family affairs related to his children and property and also needs time to file appeal in the Supreme Court against the high court verdict.

Sharma said they have removed the objections in their appeal filed in the apex court but since the court was on vacation till 1 January, it was not likely to be taken up for hearing by 31 December and also the chances of mentioning for urgent listing of the appeal was not there.

The Supreme Court will open on 2 January after the winter break.

"We have removed the objections and the appeal in the apex court has been numbered. Presently, there are no benches in the Supreme Court. Even if we mention the matter for urgent hearing, the registrar will decide whether it will be heard by the bench. No time is left now," Kumar's counsel said.

He said they are yet to engage a senior counsel who would represent Kumar before the apex court.

The former Congress leader had on 22 December approached the Supreme Court challenging the high court’s judgment.

Senior advocate H S Phoolka, who is representing the riots victims, had earlier said that they had already filed a caveat in the apex court to pre-empt any ex-parte hearing in favour of Kumar.

HC Sets Aside Trial Court’s 2010 Verdict

The high court had set aside the trial court’s 2010 verdict which had acquitted Kumar in the case. The six accused, including Kumar who was a Member of Parliament at that time, were sent to be tried in 2010.

The high court had also upheld the conviction and varying sentences awarded by the trial court to the other five – former Congress councillor Balwan Khokhar, retired naval officer Captain Bhagmal, Girdhari Lal and former MLAs Mahender Yadav and Kishan Khokhar.

All six, including Kumar, were directed by the high court to surrender by 31 December, and not leave Delhi in the mean time.

(This story was auto-published from a syndicated feed. No part of the story has been edited by The Quint.)

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