1984 anti-Sikh riots: CBI opposes Sajjan’s bail

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday adjourned a hearing on former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar’s bail plea in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case as the CBI opposed it on the ground that it will have bearing on a similar case under trial in which Kumar is again an accused.

A bench of Justice S.A. Bobde and Justice S. Abdul Nazeer directed the hearing of the matter to April 15, asking the Central Bureau of Investigation for the status of the trial in the other case, the number of witnesses examined and the others yet to be examined.

Initially, the apex court appeared inclined to grant bail to Sajjan Kumar, as Justice Bobde said: “We are not underestimating his potential to cause trouble but he can be put in a situation where he can’t cause trouble” and indicated shifting him to Tamil Nadu after bail.

The court said this noting that Sajjan Kumar is 73 years old. Its observation came in the wake of strong opposition to the indication that Sajjan Kumar could be granted bail.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the court that Sajjan Kumar, who was undergoing life imprisonment, was involved in the gruesome massacre of Sikhs in 1984 in the aftermath of the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Mehta also recalled the violent mob that the CBI team had to encounter when they went to the residence to arrest him in the course of their investigation.

Senior counsel Dushyant Dave appearing for one of the victims said that 600 Sikhs were killed in the constituency of Sajjan Kumar, who was a member of Parliament then.

The court indicated to senior counsel Amarendra Saran that it might direct the trial in another case to be expedited and then Sajjan Kumar could press his application for bail at a later stage.

As Saran said that Sajjan Kumar was acquitted by the trial court but was convicted and sentenced by Delhi High Court and the top court has been liberal in granting bail in such cases, Justice Bobde said: “The fact is that it is conviction by High Court” and has to be viewed seriously.

Sajjan Kumar was acquitted by the trial court but found guilty by the High Court which sentenced him to life imprisonment.