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SC declines interim bail to Sajjan Kumar serving life term in anti-Sikh riot case

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to grant interim bail on medical grounds to former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar who is serving life imprisonment in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.

A bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices Indu Malhotra and Hrishikesh Roy perused his medical report and said that he did not need hospitalization at the moment.

Declining the interim bail plea, the bench, holding proceedings via video conferencing, said that it would hear the regular bail application in July.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CBI, and senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for some riots victims, opposed the bail plea of the convict leader.

Senior advocate Vikas Singh, representing Kumar, said that his client be granted bail as if something happens to him in jail then his life imprisonment would become death penalty for him.

Kumar and Balwan Khokhar are serving life imprisonment in Tihar jail in the case after the Delhi High Court convicted them on December 17, 2018.

Khokhar has also sought parole in the case. His life sentence was upheld by the Delhi High Court in 2018, while it had reversed the acquittal of Kumar by the trial court in 2013, in a case related to the killings of five Sikhs in the Raj Nagar Part-I area in Palam Colony in southwest Delhi on November 1-2, 1984, and burning down of a gurdwara in Raj Nagar Part-II.

The riots had broken out after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984 by her two Sikh bodyguards.

The high court had also upheld the conviction and varying sentences awarded by the trial court to the other five — Khokhar, retired naval officer Captain Bhagmal, Girdhari Lal and former MLAs Mahender Yadav and Kishan Khokhar.

It had also convicted them for criminal conspiracy to burn down residences of Sikh families and a gurdwara in the area during the riots.

The trial court in 2013 had awarded life term to Balwan Khokhar, Bhagmal and Lal, and a three-year jail term to Yadav and Kishan Khokhar.

Following the high court verdict, life term of Balwan Khokhar, Bhagmal and Lal has been upheld and the sentence of Yadav and Kishan Khokar has been enhanced to 10 years in jail.

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