HC seeks CBI reply on 1984 anti-Sikh riots case convict's bail

NEW DELHI
4 May 2017

The Delhi High Court today sought the CBI's response on a bail plea of a convict serving life term in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gital Mittal and Justice Anu Malhotra issued notice to the agency on former Congress councillor Balwan Khokhar's plea seeking two-month bail to look after his wife, who has to undergo operation on May 15. Khokhar, who is aged, has urged the court to release him on bail to look after his wife after she undergoes the operation at a city hospital. To this, the bench asked CBI to verify the convict's contention and file a report by May 11, the next date of hearing in the matter. It also directed the Tihar Jail authorities to place before it the nominal rolls with regard to Khokhar. Khokhar, a retired naval officer Captain Bhagmal, Girdhari Lal and two others were held guilty in a 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 then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. They had challenged their conviction and the award of life sentence by the trial court in May 2013. The trial court had acquitted Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in the case but awarded life term to Khokhar, Bhagmal and Girdhari Lal and awarded three-year jail term to two others former MLA Mahender Yadav and Kishan Khokhar. The convicts have filed their appeals before the High Court while CBI has also filed an appeal, alleging they were engaged in "a planned communal riot" and "religious cleansing". The agency has also appealed against acquittal of Kumar. The high court had on March 29 also issued show cause notices to 11 accused including Khokhar and Yadav in five 1984 anti-Sikh riots cases. The accused, who were acquitted of the charges, were asked why should the court not order reinvestigation and retrial against them as they faced allegations of "horrifying crimes against humanity". The bench had issued notices on the complaints filed regarding rioting incidents on November 1 and 2, 1984 in Delhi Cantonment area. It had asked the police to produce the complainants in the cases, along with the status of the accused, who were acquitted by the trial court in all the cases.(PTI)