NEW DELHI: The Delhi high court on Monday reversed the trial court’s acquittal of Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots that took place in the capital following the assasination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

The Delhi HC sentenced Kumar to life imprisonment. He has to surrender by December 31.

A bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel had on October 29 concluded hearing arguments on the appeals filed by the CBI, riots victims and the convicts, and reserved the judgment.

Kumar’s prosecution on November 16 came after Cham Kaur, a prosecution witness, told the court that in 1984 she had seen Kumar allegedly addressing the crowd in national capital’s Sultanpuri area where he said that Sikhs had killed “our mother”, reference made to former PM Indira Gandhi. Kaur further named other people who were shot dead on the same date by the mob.

Before Cham Kaur, another key prosecution witness Sheela Kaur had identified Kumar as the one who had instigated the mob in Sultanpuri.

The case was transferred from Karkardooma court to Patiala House court by the Delhi high court, which had directed the district judge to video record the proceedings at the cost of the accused.

Among other held guilty were former Congress councillor Balwan Khokhar, retired naval officer Captain Bhagmal, Girdhari Lal and two others in the case relating to the murder of five members of a family in Raj Nagar area of Delhi Cantonment on November 1, 1984 after the assassination of then PM Indira Gandhi.

The trial court had acquitted Sajjan Kumar in the case, but awarded life term to Khokhar, Bhagmal and Lal, and a three-year jail term to two others – former MLA Mahender Yadav and Kishan Khokhar.

The convicts had challenged their conviction and sentencing by the trial court in May 2013.

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