The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought a response from the CBI to the bail plea of former Congress councillor Balwan Khokhar, sentenced to life imprisonment in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, on several grounds including having already served almost nine years in jail.
Besides Khokhar, former Congress MP Sajjan Kumar and ex-MLA Mahender Yadav are serving life imprisonment and 10-year jail term respectively in the same case.
A bench comprising Justices S K Kaul and Abhay S Oka took note of the submission that Khokhar has undergone eight years and 10 months of imprisonment so far in the case besides being 50 per cent handicapped.
“Issue notice. List after four weeks,” the bench said and asked the CBI to file its response in the meantime.
Earlier in May 2020, the apex court had denied interim bail or parole on health grounds to former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar. Sajjan Kumar and Balwan Khokhar are lodged in Tihar jail after the Delhi High Court convicted them on December 17, 2018 in the case.
Khokhar’s life sentence was upheld by the Delhi High Court in 2018, while it had overturned the acquittal of Kumar by the trial court in 2013 in the case related to the killing of five Sikhs in Raj Nagar Part-I in Palam Colony in southwest Delhi on November 1-2, 1984 and burning down of a gurdwara in Raj Nagar Part-II.
The anti-Sikh 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 also upheld the conviction and varying sentences awarded by the trial court to retired naval officer Captain Bhagmal, Girdhari Lal and former MLAs Mahender Yadav and Kishan Khokhar.
It had also convicted them of criminal conspiracy to burn down residences of Sikh families and a gurdwara in the area during the riots.
The trial court had in 2013 awarded life imprisonment to Balwan Khokhar, Bhagmal and Lal, and a three-year jail term to Yadav and Kishan Khokhar.
Following the high court verdict, life term of Balwan Khokhar, Bhagmal and Lal has been upheld and the sentence of Yadav and Kishan Khokar has been enhanced to 10 years in jail.