Sajjan Kumar Surrenders in Anti-Sikh Riots Case, Will Appeal in SC After Winter Break
Former MLAs Kishan Khokhar and Mahender Yadav, who were also convicted in the case, surrendered before a Delhi court to serve a 10-year jail term.
New Delhi: Former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar surrendered before the Karkardooma court on Monday to serve life imprisonment awarded to him by the Delhi High Court in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.
Kumar will be housed in jail room number 14 of the Mandoli prisons complex as that would be the closest from the Karkardooma court where the former Congress leader surrendered. Though the jail room is not a high security area, but it has been ensured that Kumar is kept away from Sikh prisoners.
Former Congress MLAs Mahender Yadav and Kishan Khokar also surrendered before the court of Metropolitan Magistrate Aditi Garg. Yadav was allowed to carry his spectacles and walking stick owing to his old age. However, the two former Congress leaders have been lodged in Tihar unlike Kumar.
The High Court had on December 21 rejected Kumar's plea seeking time till January 30 to surrender. In his plea, Kumar had said that he had to settle family affairs related to his children and property, and that he also needed time to file an appeal in the Supreme Court against the HC verdict.
In his plea, Kumar had also said he wanted to approach the Supreme Court through a senior lawyer, but as the apex court is on vacation, most senior advocates are on holiday.
However, Delhi HC did not allow an extension and ordered Kumar to surrender on December 31. "We will comply with the high court's judgment," his counsel Anil Kumar Sharma had told the court. Kumar's counsel will now approach the apex court once it reopens after winter vacation.
The 73-year-old Congress leader was sentenced to life for the "remainder of his natural life" by the Delhi High Court on December 17, following which he quit the Congress to avoid embarrassment to the party ahead of general elections.
The case relates to the killing of five people from the Sikh community in the Raj Nagar Part-I area in Palam Colony in south-west Delhi on November 1-2, 1984, and the burning down of a gurdwara in Raj Nagar Part II. Riots had broken out after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984, by her two Sikh bodyguards.
The High Court had set aside the trial court's 2010 verdict, which had acquitted Kumar in the case. The six accused, including Kumar who was an MP at that time, were sent to be tried in 2010.
The High Court had also upheld the conviction and varying sentences awarded by the trial court to the other five — former Congress councillor Balwan Khokhar, retired naval officer Captain Bhagmal, Girdhari Lal and former MLAs Mahender Yadav and Kishan Khokhar.
All six, including Kumar, were directed by the High Court to surrender by December 31, and not leave Delhi in the meantime.
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