Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son and the state’s Deputy Chief Minister, Sukhbir Singh Badal, on Tuesday, described the acquittal of former Congress Member of Parliament Sajjan Kumar in connection with a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, as one of the saddest days in Indian history.
Reacting to a district court judge’s verdict, Parkash Badal said: "It is sad that Sajjan Kumar has been acquitted. The case should be investigated again."
His son, Sukhbir Badal, said: "This is the saddest day in the history of India. We will fight till the end and appeal in the higher courts."
Earlier, reacting to a Delhi district’s decision to acquit Congress leader Sajjan Kumar of all the charges that were levelled against him in connection with a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, a verdit that left various Sikh groups in a state of anguish and anger, the Shiromani Akali Dal on Tuesday said that it hoped the Supreme Court would reopen the case against the former.
The SAD leadership accused the Congress Party of protecting a known criminal and offender.
There were angry and emotional scenes outside the court complex after the verdict was made known to them, and this led the authorities to order the deployment of the Rapid Action Force in and around the court complex.
Inside the court, so deep was the resentment over Kumar’s acquittal that a shoe was thrown at District Judge J R Aryan after he pronounced his verdict.
Judge Aryan, however, convicted all the other six or seven accused connected with the case.
District Judge J R Aryan had reserved the judgement on the case on April 16, after counsels for the Central Bureau of Investigation and the six accused concluded their final arguments in the case.
Kumar, a former Outer Delhi Member of Parliament, was facing trial along with five others -- Balwan Khokkar, Kishan Khokkar, Mahender Yadav, Girdhari Lal and Captain Bhagmal -- for allegedly conspiring and inciting a mob against the Sikh community in Delhi Cantonment area during the riots that followed the October 31, 1984, assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi.
The case deals with the death of five Sikhs -- Kehar Singh, Gurpreet Singh, Raghuvender Singh, Narender Pal Singh and Kuldeep Singh -- who were members of the same family and were killed by the mob in Delhi Cant’s Raj Nagar area. The case against Kumar was registered in 2005 on a recommendation by Justice GT Nanavati Commission.
In a related development, the Delhi high court on Monday said that further hearing is required.
The high court passed the order for a further hearing on the basis of a plea put forward by Sajjan Kumar, challenging an order of a trial court for framing of charges against him in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.
Justice Kait, who was scheduled to pronounce the verdict on Monday, said, "While dictating the judgment, I felt this matter should be heard further".
The judgement was reserved in the case by the high court in December last year.
In the Sultanpuri case, besides Kumar, co-accused Ved Prakash Pial alias Vedu Pradhan and Brahmanand Gupta had also moved the high court against framing of charges against them.
Complainant Sheela Kaur had filed a cross-appeal in the high court seeking to invoke the charges of criminal conspiracy against Kumar and other four accused in the case.