New Delhi: Congress leader Sajjan Kumar was on Tuesday acquitted of all charges in a case relating to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. District and Sessions Judge JR Aryan acquitted Kumar while convicting five others - Balwan Khokkar, an ex-councillor, Mahender Yadav, an ex-MLA, Kishan Khokkar, Girdhari Lal and Captain Bhagmal - for their involvement in the case.
The pronouncement of judgement witnessed a huge uproar by the protesters one of whom hurled a shoe at the judge soon after he acquitted Kumar in the case of riots that broke out 29 years ago on October 31, 1984, after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Kumar, a former Lok Sabha MP from Outer Delhi, still faces trial in another 1984 rioting case. In a third case, Delhi Police has filed a closure report, saying there was no evidence against Kumar to implicate him.
Protesters in big numbers gathered at the Karkardooma district courts complex here and after Kumar's acquittal, complainant Jagdish Kaur sat on protest inside the courtroom saying she would not leave until justice is done.
Balwan Khokkar, Girdhari Lal and Captain Bhagmal were held guilty for the offence of murder under section 302 (murder) of the IPC which entails death penalty as maximum punishment while Mahender Yadav and Kishan Khokkar were convicted for the offence of rioting only.
Balwan Khokkar, Girdhari Lal and Captain Bhagmal were ordered to be taken into judicial custody by the court. The court has now fixed May 6 for hearing the arguments on quantum of sentence in the case.
The case relates to anti-Sikh riots that had broken out after the assassination of Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984. Gandhi was shot dead by two of her bodyguards at her residence here.
The case, in which these five persons were held guilty, 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 Cantonment's Raj Nagar area.
Deceased Kehar and Gurpreet were the husband and son respectively of complainant and eye witness Jagdish Kaur while Raghuvender, Narender and Kuldeep were the brothers of Kaur and another witness Jagsher Singh.
The case against Kumar and others was registered in 2005 on a recommendation by Justice GT Nanavati Commission. CBI had filed two charge sheets against him and the other accused in January 2010.
The trial court had in May 2010 framed charges against Kumar and the five others under Sections 302 (murder), 395 (dacoity), 427 (mischief to cause damage to property), 153-A (promoting enmity between different communities), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and other provisions of the IPC.
The Delhi Police had earlier probed the riots case and the investigation was handed over to CBI in 2005. CBI had told the court there was a conspiracy of "terrifying proportion" between Kumar and the police during the riots.
The agency had said the police had kept its "eyes closed" to the widespread violence. CBI had also alleged that in all the complaints wherever Kumar's name had cropped up, it was "immediately eliminated" from the Delhi Police records.
Defence counsel had told the court there were material contradictions in statements of the witnesses, including Jagdish Kaur.
With additional information from PTI