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The Delhi High Court on Monday convicted Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case. Kumar was sentenced to life imprisonment.

A bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel reversed the trial court judgment which had acquitted Kumar. The bench asked Kumar to surrender by December 31 and also slapped a fine of Rs 5 lakh.

While handing out the verdict, the court observed: “In the summer of 1947, during partition, several people were massacred. 37 years later Delhi was the witness of a similar tragedy. The accused enjoyed political patronage and escaped trial.”

On October 29, the Delhi High Court had reserved the judgment.

Former Congress Councillor Balwan Khokhar, a retired naval officer Captain Bhagmal, Girdhari Lal and two others were held guilty in the case relating to the murder of five members of a family in Raj Nagar area of Delhi Cantonment on November 1, 1984, after the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

The trial court had acquitted Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in the case but awarded life term to Khokhar, Bhagmal and Girdhari Lal and a three-year jail term to two others – former MLA Mahender Yadav and Kishan Khokhar.

They had challenged their conviction and sentencing by the trial court in May 2013.

The CBI has also filed an appeal, alleging they were engaged in “a planned communal riot” and “religious cleansing”. The CBI and the victims have also appealed against the acquittal of Kumar.

Read the judgment here

—India Legal Bureau   

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