Delhi’s Patiala House Court on Thursday adjourned a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case against former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar for January 22.
This is the second case against Sajjan Kumar in which he is facing trial along with two others, Brahmanand Gupta and Ved Prakash on charges of murder and rioting pertaining to the killing of Surjit Singh in Delhi’s Sultanpuri. The case was filed against him by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on the recommendation of the Nanavati Commission.
The hearing was adjourned as Sajjan Kumar’s main counsel Anil Sharma did not appear before the Patiala House Court on Thursday for cross-examination of the witnesses in the case.
The witness, Cham Kaur, had on November 16 identified Sajjan Kumar before the court as one who had allegedly instigated the mob to kill Sikhs.
Kaur had told the court that she had seen Kumar allegedly addressing the crowd in Sultanpuri in 1984 and saying that Sikhs had killed “our mother” and instigated the mob to kill them.
“On October 31, 1984, we were watching TV on the demise of Indira Gandhi. On November 1, 1984, when I stepped out to look for my goat, I saw accused Sajjan Kumar addressing the crowd and was saying ‘hamari ma maar di. Sardaro ko maar do’ (killed our mother. Kill the Sikhs),” Kaur had told the court.
She had further said the next morning, they were attacked in which her son and her father were killed.
“My son Kapoor Singh and my father Sardarji Singh were pulled out of the hiding place on the second floor, beaten badly and were thrown down from the roof,” she had said, adding that she herself received injuries in the attack.
During the proceedings, Kaur had also identified Kumar, who was present in the court.
“I could recognise the accused Sajjan Kumar, as we used to visit him for getting help in making ration card, passport. We used to visit the accused of getting the papers stamps as he was the MP/MLA,” she had said.
Before Kaur, another key prosecution witness Sheela Kaur had identified Kumar as the one who had instigated the mob in Sultanpuri.
The case was transferred from the Karkardooma court to the Patiala House court here by the Delhi High Court, which had directed the district judge to video record the proceedings at the cost of the accused.
Kumar and two other accused, Brahmanand Gupta and Ved Prakash, had said that they were ready to bear the expenses of the videography of proceedings.
The proceedings in the case were earlier stayed after the victim and complainant Joginder Singh approached the High Court seeking transfer of the case while alleging that evidence was not being properly recorded.
The Delhi High Court had on December 17 convicted Sajjan Kumar and sentenced him to life imprisonment in another 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, describing the mass killings as “crimes against humanity”.
Reversing the acquittal order of the trial court, the high court held him guilty of the crime and ordered him to surrender by December 31 this year.
Besides Kumar, Captain Bhagmal, Girdhari Lal and former Congress councillor Balwan Khokhar were also sentenced to life imprisonment. Kishan Khokkar and former legislator Mahender Yadav were sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Following the verdict, Kumar wrote to Congress president Rahul Gandhi submitting his resignation from the primary membership of the party.
(With PTI inputs)