SC to consider urgent hearing of Sajjan's bail plea

Congress leader Sajjan Kumar (PTI Photo)

The Supreme Court on Monday said it would consider the plea seeking urgent hearing of the bail application of former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar, who is serving life imprisonment awarded to him by the Delhi High Court in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.

On August 5, this year, an apex court bench headed by Justice S A Bobde, now CJI-designate, had said it would hear Kumar's bail plea in May 2020 as it was not an "ordinary case" and required a detailed hearing before any order is passed.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Surya Kant was told by senior advocate Shekhar Naphade, appearing for the former Congress leader, he wanted an urgent listing of Kumar's bail plea as it was pending for quite some time.

"We will see to it," the bench told Naphade, who was assisted by lawyer Amit Anand Tiwari.

Kumar has also challenged the Delhi High Court's judgment convicting and awarding him life imprisonment in the case probed by CBI.

The CBI, in its reply, said the offence for which Kumar was convicted was of "gruesome nature" as it was a "genocide".

It has sought dismissal of the bail plea and the appeal of Kumar, saying he has a "large political clout" and is capable of "influencing or terrorising" witnesses in another case pending against him.

The CBI said a fair trial in the case pending against Kumar would not be possible if he is granted bail.

Kumar, 73, lodged in jail, resigned from the Congress party after he was convicted by the high court.

The case in which he was convicted and sentenced relates to the killing of five Sikhs in Delhi Cantonment's Raj Nagar Part-I area of southwest Delhi on November 1-2 in 1984, and burning down of a Gurdwara in Raj Nagar Part-II.

Anti-Sikh riots had broken out after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984, by her two Sikh bodyguards.

Kumar has also challenged in the apex court the Delhi High Court's verdict of December 17 last year that awarded him life imprisonment for the "remainder of his natural life" in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.

Earlier, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CBI, had said Kumar has been facing trial in another 1984 anti-Sikh riots case at the Patiala House District Court here.

The recording of evidence, in that case, was going on, he had said.

However, the counsel representing Kumar had said the former Congress leader has been in jail after surrendering on December 31 last year and during the adjudication of the trial, he was out on anticipatory bail and never misused the liberty.

The high court had convicted for the offences of criminal conspiracy and abetment in the commission of crimes of murder, promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of communal harmony and defiling and destruction of a Gurdwara.

It had also upheld the conviction and varying sentences awarded by a trial court to five others — former Congress councillor Balwan Khokhar retired naval officer Captain Bhagmal, Girdhari Lal and ex-MLAs Mahender Yadav and Kishan Khokhar.

The high court had set aside the trial court's 2010 verdict, which had acquitted Kumar in the case.

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