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1984 anti-Sikh riots: Justice Khanna recuses from hearing Sajjan's appeal

1984 anti-Sikh riots: Justice Khanna recuses from hearing Sajjans appeal

New Delhi: Supreme Court judge Justice Sanjiv Khanna on Monday once again recused himself from hearing the appeal of former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar who has challenged the Delhi High Court verdict sentencing him to life term in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.

On February 25, Justice Khanna had recused himself from hearing Kumar's appeal when he was sitting in a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi. The matter came up for hearing on Monday before a bench of Justices S A Bobde and Sanjiv Khanna.

The bench said the case would now come up for hearing after two weeks.

The case in which Kumar was convicted and sentenced relates to the killing of five Sikhs in Delhi Cantonment's Raj Nagar Part-I area of southwest Delhi on November 1 and 2, 1984, and burning down of a Gurudwara in Raj Nagar Part-II. Anti-Sikh riots had broken out after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984 by her two Sikh bodyguards.

73-year-old Kumar had surrendered before a trial court here on December 31, 2018, to serve the sentence in pursuance of the high court's December 17 judgment awarding him life imprisonment for the "remainder of his natural life".

After his conviction in the case, Kumar had resigned from the Congress party.

The CBI has recently told the apex court that Kumar's plea seeking bail in the matter should be dismissed as he has a "large political clout" and is capable of "influencing or terrorising" witnesses in the case pending against him. It has told the court that fair trial in the pending case would not be possible if Kumar is granted bail.

The top court had earlier admitted Kumar's appeal for hearing and had also issued notice to the CBI on his bail plea seeking its response.

The high court had convicted and sentenced Kumar to spend the remainder of his life in jail for the offences of criminal conspiracy and abetment.

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