NEW DELHI: Complying with the December 31 deadline, former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar on Monday surrendered before a Delhi court to serve the life sentence awarded to him by the Delhi high court in connection with a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.

Kumar (73) reached the court at 2.18pm following the surrender of former MLAs Kishan Khokhar and Mahender Yadav, who were also convicted in the same case. The two MLAs will serve 10-year jail terms. All three surrendered before duty magistrate Aditi Garg, who directed that Kumar be lodged in Mandoli Jail in northeast Delhi.

Turns here Kumar, a three-time MP, walked in and walked out of the courtroom amid tight security while some of the victim families remained outside the main gate of the court complex. After surrendering, he was accosted on the ground floor and put in a police van, along with a couple of police cars, which left for the jail.

Though Kumar’s plea to be lodged in the high-security Tihar Jail was rejected, the court allowed his plea for security. Media persons were not allowed inside the courtroom when proceedings were on. A source, privy to the legal developments, said the court took into consideration the plea for security observing threat for his arraignment in another anti-Sikh riots case.

Senior advocate H S Phoolka, who appeared for the victim families, told TOI, “This is a new year gift to the nation. We have shown that no one is above law in our country. This is a warning to the people who commit crimes when they are in power. The law will catch up with them one day and they will have to spend their final years in jail.”

Earlier this month, Kumar sought time on Thursday till January 30 from Delhi high court to surrender. Claiming innocence, Kumar urged the court to grant him 30 more days to surrender so that he can settle certain property matters, meet his close relatives and friends, who have been associated with him for the past seven decades. In the application, Kumar said he has a big family, including a wife, three children and eight grandchildren and has to settle certain matters, including those related to property. HC had before the directed Kumar to surrender by December 31 after holding him guilty, but Kumar has urged the court to give him time till January 30 to surrender.

HC convicted and awarded life term “till the remainder of his life” to Kumar in a case relating to the killing of five Sikhs in Raj Nagar part-I in Palam Colony in southwest Delhi on November 1-2, 1984, and burning down of a Gurdwara in Raj Nagar part II during that period. The riots had broken out after the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984.

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