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Anti-Sikh riots: SC stays proceedings against Sajjan Kumar

July 11, 2012 15:35 IST
The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed the trial court proceedings against senior Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.

A bench of justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan directed the lower court not to proceed with the case till July 27 when the Delhi high court is likely to take up Kumar's plea for allowing him to cross examine the witnesses whose statements before various commissions are being used by the Central Bureau of Investigation against him.

The court passed the order on former MP Kumar's appeal challenging the high court's order, which had refused to stay the trial against him.

The CBI vehemently opposed Kumar's appeal and alleged that it was a delaying tactics on his part. The bench, however, was not satisfied with the agency's plea and stayed the proceedings. The bench also asked the high court to hear Kumar's petition expeditiously.

The trial court was scheduled to commence hearing from Thursday the final arguments on the part of accused, starting with Kumar.

Kumar has appealed in the high court against the trial court order which had refused to allow him to use a riot victim's statements to the various judicial commissions, including G T Nanavati and Ranganath Mishra Commissions, in the past to defend himself. He said as many of the witnesses have changed their testimonies made before the commissions, he be allowed to cross examine them with regard to those statements.

Kumar's plea was earlier dismissed by the trial court which had said the witness Jagdish Kaur's statements to the judicial commissions cannot be used for any purpose, including that for discrediting her testimony or to impeach her.

Kumar, in his plea, had said the affidavits and statements of complainant and key witness Kaur, given to the judicial commissions, should be allowed to be used to confront her with her recent testimony in the ongoing trial.

Kumar had filed an application in the trial court saying the CBI prosecutor R S Cheema on July 12, 2010 had told the court that Kaur's affidavits and statement to G T Nanavati and Ranganath Mishra Commissions, cannot be used because of the contradictions in them.

The CBI had said as per the provisions of the Commission of Inquiry Act, the affidavits and statements of a witness given before any commission cannot be used against her for the purpose of questioning her testimony.

According to Kumar, if the CBI and the witness would use the affidavits filed before the commissions, then there is no law which forbids the defence from confronting them.

Kumar is facing trial along with Balwan Khokkar, Kishan Khokkar, Mahender Yadav, Girdhari Lal and Captain Bhagmal for his alleged role in the killings of six people in Delhi Cantonment area during the 1984 carnage which had broken out after the assassination of the then PM Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984.

Kumar is accused of instigating a mob to attack and kill the Sikhs. The case against him was lodged on Nanavati Commission's recommendation. The CBI had filed two chargesheets against him and others in January 2010.

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


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