NEW DELHI—The Delhi High Court yesterday agreed to hear the petition of one of the three persons sentenced to life term in a 1984 Sikh genocide case. The case relates to the massacre of five Sikhs, namely Kehar Singh, Gurpreet Singh, Raghuvender Singh, Narender Pal Singh and Kuldeep Singh. All were members of the same family and killed by a mob in Raj Nagar area in Delhi Cantonment.
The court allowed the appeal filed by Girdhari Lal against his conviction and sentence awarded by the trial court in May 2013, and listed it for hearing on July 7.
In addition to Lal, the trial court had also awarded life term to ex-councilor Balwan Khokar and retired Naval Officer Captain Bhagmal for murder in a case in which senior Congress leader Sajjan Kumar was acquitted on April 30 last year.
In his plea, Lal 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 of others (Khokar and Bhagmal), the trial court took a different view and wrongly appreciated the statement of PW-1 to be credible and trustworthy,” 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 on ground of “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.