Anti-Sikh riots case verdict delayed due to court security

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Sajjan Kumar
New Delhi, March 18: A suspected "security threat" intimated by the Delhi Police to the court on Monday led it to adjourn hearing midway in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case in which Congress leader Sajjan Kumar and others are facing trial.

Court sources said District Judge JR Aryan adjourned the hearing for March 23 after an ACP of the Delhi Police met the judge in his chamber during lunch time and apprised him of intelligence information on "security threat" on court premises.

CBI prosecutor RS Cheema was also called in by the judge and he was informed about it and the proceedings were adjourned by the court which was hearing final arguments by the agency counsel.

The arguments were expected to conclude today following which the court would pronounce its verdict in the high-profile case.

Meanwhile, during the hearing, Cheema, assisted by advocate DP Singh, argued that the statement of prosecution witness Ram Avtar Sharma, who had saved several Sikhs during the riots in Raj Nagar area of Delhi Cantonment, was corroborating its case and there were only minor deviations in his testimony which would not affect the case.

He also said that Ram Avtar's statement also establishes the presence of another witness Jagsher Singh at the spot.
To strengthen their argument that the Delhi Police had arrested the persons who were saving and providing shelters to the Sikhs, the prosecutor referred to the statement of witness Jagsher Singh.

He said Jagsher Singh had deposed that a Hindu man (Ram Avtar) was arrested by police for providing shelter to Sikhs during the carnage.

Former Delhi MP Sajjan Kumar is facing trial along with five others - Balwan Khokkar, Kishan Khokkar, Mahender Yadav, Girdhari Lal and Captain Bhagmal - for allegedly inciting a mob against the Sikh community in Delhi Cantonment area.
The case relates to anti-Sikh riots that had broken out after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984.

Cheema also said that on November 12, 1984, Balvinder Singh, who had lost his three brothers during the massacre, had gone to police station to lodge a complaint about the killings but the police officials neither registered an FIR nor contacted him for recording his statement.

Earlier, CBI had claimed that the Delhi Police had failed to act against the main culprits and had tried to shield the accused in the case.

CBI had told the court that there was a conspiracy of "terrifying proportion" between Kumar and the police during the riots. It had said the police had kept its "eyes closed" to the wide-spread violence.

The counsel for the accused had earlier contended that there were several contradictions in the statements of the witnesses. They had questioned the "conduct" of Jagdish Kaur.

The case against Kumar was registered in 2005 on a recommendation by Justice GT Nanavati Commission. CBI had filed two chargesheets against him and others in January 2010.

The trial court had in May, 2010, framed charges against Kumar and five others under Sections 302 (murder), 395 (dacoity), 427 (mischief to cause damage to property), 153A (promoting enmity between different communities) and other provisions of IPC.

PTI

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