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SC stays Sajjanís trial in í84 riots case
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, July 11
The Supreme Court today stayed till July 27 the trial of Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, but requested the Delhi HC to quickly dispose of Kumarís plea to cross-examine a key witness. An SC bench stayed the trial proceedings after senior counsel UU Lalit, appearing for Kumar, said the HC had restrained the trial court from pronouncing the verdict till July 27, but refused the plea for a stay.

Lalit said the HC ruling had created confusion among Kumarís trial court lawyers and as such they were indecisive about their line of argument, pending disposal of the plea in the high court for confronting Jagdish Kaur, a prime witness, with her statements to GT Nanavati and Ranganath Mishra Commissions.

The trial court had rejected the plea relating to Kaur on June 2, upon which Kumar challenged it in the HC with an interim prayer for a stay on the trial.

Explaining the logic behind staying the trial, the SC Bench said Kumar might succeed in convincing the HC on the need for confronting Kaur with her statements to the judicial commissions to defend himself. July 27 is the next date of hearing in the high court.

Senior counsel HS Phoolka, appearing for the complainant in the case, and the CBI vehemently opposed Kumarís plea, contending that it was nothing, but a ploy to further delay the trial.

The trial was to have concluded in August 2010, but was still dragging on because of such delaying tactics, they argued.

At least, the trial proceedings relating to the other five accused in the case should be allowed to go on, Phoolka and the CBI pleaded. However, according to Kumar, the CBI and the witnesses were using the affidavits filed before the commissions. In that case, he could not be prevented from doing the same.

Kumar is facing trial for his role in the killings of six people in the Delhi Cantonment area during the 1984 riots following the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31. The other accused in the case are Balwan Khokkar, Kishan Khokkar, Mahender Yadav, Girdhari Lal and Captain Bhagmal.

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