The Delhi High Court has stayed an order granting bail to former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in a rioting and murder case arising from the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in which the trial is continuing. Kumar is already serving a life term in another murder case arising from the riots that took place after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Justice Yogesh Khanna issued notice to Kumar and sought his response on the petition by the Special Investigating Team (SIT) that challenged the grant of bail in a rioting and murder case lodged at Saraswati Vihar Police Station here in which the trial is underway.
The SIT that probed the riot cases, through Central Government Standing Counsel Ajay Digpaul, submitted that Kumar was involved in a heinous offence and some important witnesses were yet to be examined and if he is released, it may hamper the evidence. He further submitted that Kumar is already convicted in a similar case and is in custody.
The court, in its July 4 order, said “In view of the above, let the notice of this petition be issued to the respondent (Kumar) through all modes returnable on July 15 and till then the impugned order dated April 27 shall remain stayed”. The petition sought to set aside an April 27 order of the trial court which had granted bail to Kumar in a rioting and murder case lodged at Saraswati Vihar Police Station here.
It said the present case is related to the murder of S Jaswant Singh and his son Tarun Deep Singh, both residents of Raj Nagar here. Besides this, four persons were also injured in the incident. The plea said a case of rioting and murder was registered at Saraswati Vihar Police Station in 1991 based on an affidavit filed by a woman in September 1985 before Justice Ranganath Misra Commission of Inquiry.
In her affidavit, the woman had narrated the November 1, 1984, incident of killing and burning of her husband and son and she had also “clearly stated the name of accused Sajjan Kumar as a person who instigating the mob”, the plea said. It said after investigation, the riots cell of Delhi Police had sent the case as untraced which was accepted by the magistrate on July 8, 1994.” However, the complainant was neither produced before the court by the investigating officer nor the court summoned her to clarify her position before passing the order, it said.
The SIT added that the woman’s statement was also recorded in another FIR lodged at Punjabi Bagh Police Station, however, the judicial record of that FIR has been destroyed by the weeding out process. Seeking to set aside the trial court’s bail order in the case lodged at Saraswati Vihar, the SIT said, “The Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) erroneously held that the name of accused as the person instigating or leading the mob is found to have been taken for the first time with certainty by the complainant after a long gap of 7 years from the date of the incident.
“However, the ASJ failed to appreciate that the complainant gave her affidavit dated September 9, 1985, before the Justice Ranganath Misra Commission of Inquiry, which clearly mentioned the name of the accused.” It said the FIR was only registered after more than 7 years and the investigation was not handed over to an independent agency as recommended by the Justice J D Jain and D K Agrawal Committee, which clearly suggests the influence of the accused. The case in which Kumar was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment was related to the killing of five Sikhs in Raj Nagar part-I area in Palam Colony in South West Delhi on November 1-2, 1984, and the burning down of a Gurudwara in Raj Nagar part II.