NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday said former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar’s bail plea will be heard on April 8 after Justice Sanjiv Khanna once again recused himself from hearing the matter. Kumar sentenced to a life term in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case,
On February 25, Justice Khanna had recused himself from hearing Kumar’s plea when he was sitting in a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.Kumar, 73, has also challenged the Delhi High Court’s December 17, 2018, verdict awarding him life imprisonment for the “remainder of his natural life” in the case.The case in which Kumar was convicted and sentenced relates to the killing of five Sikhs in Delhi Cantonment’s Raj Nagar Part-I area of southwest Delhi on November 1 and 2, 1984, and burning down a Gurudwara in Raj Nagar Part-II.
Kumar’s application seeking bail in the case came up for a hearing on Monday before a bench comprising Justices S A Bobde and Sanjiv Khanna.“List the instant application for bail on April 8 before a bench of which one of us (Sanjiv Khanna, J) is not a member,” the bench said in its order. Kumar had surrendered before a trial court here on December 31, 2018, to serve the sentence in pursuance of the high court’s December 17 verdict. After his conviction in the case, Kumar had resigned from the Congress party.
The CBI has recently told the apex court that Kumar’s plea seeking bail in the case should be dismissed as he has a “large political clout” and is capable of “influencing or terrorising” witnesses in the case pending against him.
It has told the court that fair trial in the pending case would not be possible if Kumar is granted bail.
The high court had convicted and sentenced Kumar to spend the remainder of his life in jail for the offences of criminal conspiracy and abetment in commission of crimes of murder, promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of communal harmony.
Anti-Sikh riots had broken out after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984 by her two Sikh bodyguards in the aftermath of Operation Blue Star.
(With PTI inputs)