The Delhi High Court today agreed to hear the appeal of one of the three persons awarded life term in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case for the murder of five members of a family during the pogrom.
A bench of justices P K Bhasin and J R Midha allowed the appeal filed by Girdhari Lal against his conviction and sentence awarded by the trial court in May last year and listed it for hearing on July 7. Besides Lal, the trial court had also awarded life term to ex-councillor Balwan Khokar and retired naval officer Captain Bhagmal for murder and rioting in the case in which senior Congress leader Sajjan Kumar was acquitted on April 30 last year.
Lal has in his plea challenged his conviction and sentence saying "the trial court has been pleased to reach the conclusion that the statement of prosecution witness(PW-1) Jagdish Kaur is untrustworthy, unreliable, contradictory and full of improvements while deciding the involvement of co-accused Sajjan Kumar". "But while deciding his (Gridhari) case and others(Khokar and Bhagmal), the trial court took a different view and wrongly appreciated the statement of PW-1 to be credible and trustworthy against him," the plea alleged.
Two other convicts, ex-MLA Mahinder Yadav and Kishan Khokkar were awarded three-year imprisonment and the court rejected their plea for release on probation. Kumar was acquitted by the court which had held that he deserved the "benefit of doubt" since one of the victims and key witnesses Jagdish Kaur did not name him as an accused in her statement recorded by the Justice Ranganath Mishra panel in 1985.
The case, in which the five persons were held guilty, relates to the death of five Sikhs - Kehar Singh, Gurpreet Singh, Raghuvender Singh, Narender Pal Singh and Kuldeep Singh - by a mob in Raj Nagar area in Delhi Cantonment. They were members of the same family.