New Delhi, March 25: In a reprieve for former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar, the Supreme Court on Monday adjourned the hearing on his bail plea, as it was listed before a Bench comprising Justice Sanjiv Khanna who had earlier recused himself in the matter.
As soon as the matter came up for hearing, Justice SA Bobde – who was heading the Bench – said the matter would be adjourned. Justice Bobde said it was because of some last-minute change in the Bench and listed it for hearing after two weeks.
Kumar has challenged a Delhi High Court order convicting and sentencing him to life imprisonment for killing of five Sikhs in Raj Nagar Part-I area in Palam Colony in south west Delhi on November 1 and 2, 1984, and burning down a gurdwara in Raj Nagar Part-II during the riots.
Kumar (73) had surrendered before a Delhi court on December 31 to serve life imprisonment for the “remainder of his natural life”. He has sought his release on bail pending his appeal.
The CBI has opposed Kumar’s bail plea, saying he was a leader with “a large political clout” and “capable of influencing/terrorising witnesses”. A fair trial in other 1984 riots cases pending against him would not be possible if he was released on bail, the agency submitted.
Reversing Sajjan Kumar’s April 30, 2013 acquittal order passed by Delhi’s Karkardooma court, a Delhi High Court Bench headed by Justice S Muralidhar had said the trial court failed to address the charges of criminal conspiracy against Kumar.
Justice Muarlidhar too had termed it a “crime against humanity”.
“The criminals escaped prosecution and punishment for more than two decades. It took as many as 10 committees and commissions for the investigation into the role of some of them to be entrusted in 2005 to the CBI, 21 years after the occurrence,” the High Court had observed.