Tuesday, December 24, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Sajjan acquitted in ’84 riots case
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 23
A Delhi court today acquitted Congress leader Sajjan Kumar and 12 others in the 1984-riots case on the grounds that the prosecution had failed to conclusively prove their role in the incident.

Additional Sessions Judge Manju Goel acquitted all accused in the case, saying that the prosecution has failed to produce enough evidence to link Kumar and other accused to the killing of Sikhs in the aftermath of the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984.

Stating that the prosecution had failed to prove the commissioning of the offence by Kumar and others, the Judge observed that there were serious contradictions in the statements of the witnesses produced by the investigating agency. Only three witnesses had been examined and there were lots of flaws in their testimony, the Judge said.

The case against Kumar was instituted on a complaint by Anwar Kaur, who alleged that a mob instigated by him had killed her husband in the Sultanpuri area in West Delhi on November 1, 1984, a day after Gandhi’s assassination.

The CBI, which probed the case, had chargesheeted Kumar and 12 others — Nathu Pradhan, Brahmanand Gupta, Udal Singh, Shishram, Jai Bhagwan Gupta, Peera Ram, Hanuman Prasad, Satyaveer Singh, Mahender Singh, Islam, Rajendra Singh and Jai Kishen — on December 22, 1994.

In the first case, the police registered an FIR in 1984 accusing 11 persons of instigating riots in the Sultanpuri area, killing 49 persons. In the second case, the CBI registered a case on a complaint by Anwar Kaur in 1990 against Sajjan Kumar who, she alleged, was leading the mob, which killed her husband in the riots.

The court’s order of acquitting the Congress leader evoked a sharp reaction from the Sikh community who blamed the police and the former Congress government for ‘’allowing evidence to weaken’’ against powerful politicians allegedly involved in the riot cases.

Senior advocate H.S. Phoolka, counsel for the 1984 riots victims before the Nanavati Commission on the carnage, said, “delay is fatal in the registration of cases.”

He said one of the cases, in which Mr Sajjan Kumar was acquitted, was registered six years later in 1990 when Mr V.P. Singh was the Prime Minister.

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