New Delhi, February 3
Noting that it was not a case where a convict could seek bail after nine years, the Supreme Court on Friday refused to take up a bail plea of Balwan Khokhar – a former Congress councillor and a convict in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.
“This is not the case where you can apply for bail in nine years’ time. The appeal is of 2019, so wait for some time,” said a Bench headed by Justice SK Kaul which had on January 3 sought the response of the CBI on Khokhar’s bail plea.
Around 3,000 people were killed in the anti-Sikh riots that broke out following the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984, by her two Sikh bodyguards.
On behalf of victims’ families, senior counsel Dushyant Dave said hundreds of people died in the riots in which the petitioner led the mob. “This country won’t tolerate such hate crimes. This man was caught… no relief can be granted,” he said.
Khokhar’s counsel said the convict was suffering from 50 per cent disability and had spent more than nine years in jail.
Earlier, in May 2020, the Supreme Court had also refused to grant interim bail to former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar who had wanted to be enlarged on health grounds.
Khokhar has sought his release on bail mainly on the ground that he has already served almost nine years in jail.
Besides Khokhar, former Congress MP Sajjan Kumar and ex-MLA Mahender Yadav are also serving life imprisonment and 10-year jail term, respectively, in the case.
Kumar and Khokhar were lodged in Tihar jail after the Delhi High Court convicted them on December 17, 2018 in the case.
The Supreme Court had on September 3, 2021 refused to grant interim bail to former Delhi Congress leader Sajjan Kumar, saying his medical condition was stable.
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.
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