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Parikshit Luthra
Monday , April 23, 2012 at 19 : 58

Helpless in a court of law


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A person often looks helpless and vulnerable in front of his wife or on the hospital bed and maybe even in the court room. How would a person behave when he knows that the odds are against him, he's been isolated by his party and the only one who truly supports him is his personal assistant of 32 years.

I am talking about Congress leader Sajjan Kumar. This may probably sound too harsh but standing in the Karkardooma court complex he looked like a lamb that knew it would land up on a dinner table very soon.

For those of you who are unaware about his background, Sajjan Kumar is a former Congress MP accused of playing a very big role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. While the first proper indictment for him came only in 2005 when the Nanavati Commission submitted its report, his name has been cropping up with that of another congress leader Jagdish Tytler several times over the last 26 years.

The case was then taken over from the local police by the CBI. The agency has strongly criticised the leader for his role in the riots, for instigating people to kill every Sikh around, and colluding with the police for making sure no action is taken against rioters.

Now, coming back to my story. On Monday the CBI concluded its final arguments against Sajjan Kumar. Within three months the court could decide whether he should be convicted for his role and sent to jail or acquitted. He's a worried man, there are no second thoughts to that. I couldn't help observe Sajjan Kumar very closely. Before the hearing of the case began he was sitting outside the court room on a steel chair surrounded by his body guards and security officials. He sat quietly and prayed endlessly.

If I have got his lip movements right, he was probably chanting the Gayatri Mantra. He didn't even stop chanting when I greeted him, though, he nodded in acknowledgement. The chanting continued even when he stood in the witness box with his head down, hands folded but listening intently to the CBI's scathing criticism. He would raise his head every now and then to take a deep breath and look at the judge and then his loyal secretary Kailash.

Throughout the hearing he didn't say a word to the co-accused standing with him. When the court proceedings ended he left immediately with his battery of lawyers and bodyguards escorting him to his SUV.

While, the court will decide whether he should be held guilty or not, he does look like a man who has lived with the fear of arrest for almost two decades. Unlike most politicians he has never given a TV interview, leave alone a sound byte.

Today, when his party has distanced itself from him, he looks like a man who doesn't have much time. Someone who is waiting for the courts to decide whether he needs to spend the rest of his life behind bars or not.


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Parikshit Luthra is a Principal Correspondent and an Anchor with CNN-IBN. His areas of specialisation include crime, terrorism and security.
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