New Delhi (PTI): Former Congress councillor Balwan Khokhar, serving life term in one of the 1984 riots cases, on Monday blamed his senior party colleague Sajjan Kumar in the Delhi High Court for allegedly ruining his life by making him a scapegoat.
“My life has been ruined by Sajjan Kumar and his lawyers. He (Kumar) himself escaped from conviction in the cases,” Khokhar orally submitted before a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Anu Malhotra.
He was produced from jail in pursuance to a production warrant issued by the high court.
Khokhar, who is in advanced stage of life and was allowed to make submissions in person.
The convict made the statement on being asked by the court whether he will have his own lawyer to defend himself in three different cases reopened by it for retrial and reinvestigation or it should provide him a legal aid counsel.
Khokhar, however, said he needed some time to look for a counsel of his choice, which was allowed by the court.
The bench sought his presence on the next date of hearing in the matter on July 11.
Khokhar was convicted in a riot case in the Delhi Cantonment area in which Kumar was acquitted by the trial court.
The high court, on March 29, had issued show cause notices to 11 accused in five 1984 anti-Sikh riots cases, who were acquitted of the charges, as to why it should not order reinvestigation and retrial against them as they had faced allegations of “horrifying crimes against humanity”.
It had also asked the police to produce the complainants in the cases, along with the status of the accused, who were acquitted by the trial court in all the cases.
The Delhi Police on Monday gave details of two complainants, out of the five, and said three of them were not traceable and there was a possibility that one or two might have died. It also said that many of the accused persons have also died.
To this, the bench directed the police to produce proof of those who have died. It also asked the CBI, the prosecuting agency in the case, to produce details with regard to all the five cases which have been weeded out in 2005, so that the arguments could be heard in these matters.
The bench observed that when the trial court was of the view that murder has been committed, but not by the accused, then the records ought to have been preserved for 50 years.
Hardly any investigation was carried out and there has to be fresh probe, the bench said. It separated all the five cases and listed them on different dates for further hearing.
The bench had issued notices to 11 accused, including Khokhar and ex-MLA Mahender Yadav, on the complaints filed regarding rioting incidents on November 1 and 2, 1984 in Delhi Cantonment area.
Khokhar has been serving life term after being convicted for murder in another 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.
The high court had issued the directions to “secure ends of justice” after perusing the trial court records regarding the acquittal of accused in five different cases in 1986 relating to the killing of Sikhs during the riots, which broke out a day after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984.
The trial court records were placed before the high court by the CBI during the hearing of another 1984 riot case in which the acquittal of Congress leader Sajjan Kumar and punishment awarded to other convicts, including Khokhar, is under challenge by CBI, the riot victims and convicts.
Finding fault with the trial court judgements, the bench headed by Justice Mittal had said prima facie the verdicts acquitting the accused “reflect a very perfunctory and hasty disposal of the cases which has deeply troubled our judicial conscience”.
It had observed that a prima facie consideration of the charge sheet filed before the trial court in 1985 indicated “lip service” to the duty to investigate while the judgements in the five cases reflected no steps or compliance of law and instead showed “haste to scuttle prosecutions and close trials”.
The bench had noted that trial in these cases were concluded within three to four months and the final outcome was acquittal of the accused of all the charges.