NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court today wondered what the state machinery was doing during the 1984 riots as one of the incidents of killing of Sikhs occurred right next to the Delhi cantonment area.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Anu Malhotra said had the cases related to the riots, which followed the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, been dealt properly, it would not have been hearing the issue now.
The observation by the bench came while hearing the CBI's appeal against Congress leader Sajjan Kumar's acquittal in the murder of five Sikhs in Raj Nagar area of Delhi Cantonment on November 1, 1984.
"What was the state machinery doing? The incidents happened right next to the Delhi Cantonment," the court said.
Senior advocate Amit Sibal, appearing for Kumar, told the court there was no direction by the Justice G T Nanavati Commission to re-investigate the instant case against Kumar.
CBI counsel D P Singh and senior advocate H S Phoolka, representing the riot victims, told the court that after receiving the Nanavati commission report, Parliament had decided to re-investigate the instant case against Kumar.
The arguments remained inconclusive and are expected to continue on July 19.
Kumar had earlier told the high court that there was no allegation against him of instigating a mob against Sikhs after Indira Gandhi's assassination.
While Kumar was acquitted in the case by the trial court, former Congress councillor Balwan Khokhar, retired naval officer Captain Bhagmal, Girdhari Lal and two others were held guilty.
The trial court had awarded life term in May 2013 to Khokhar, Bhagmal and Girdhari Lal and a three-year jail term to two others - former MLA Mahender Yadav and Kishan Khokhar.
They have challenged their conviction and jail terms awarded by the trial court.
The CBI in its appeal has also sought enhancement of sentence of the convicts, alleging that all of them were engaged in "a planned communal riot" and "religious cleansing".
The high court had on March 29 last year issued show cause notice to 11 accused, including Khokhar and Yadav, in five other 1984 anti-Sikh riots cases in which they had been acquitted by the trial court.
The accused, who were acquitted of the charges, were asked why the court should not order reinvestigation and retrial against them as they faced allegations of "horrifying crimes against humanity".
Earlier, the bench had sought a reply from Kumar on a letter purportedly written to it by the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee claiming that the accused in the case have confessed to being present at the spot where the violent incidents had occurred.