New Delhi: The Supreme Court of India on Monday issued notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Congress leader Sajjan Kumar’s appeal challenging his conviction in relation to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi sought CBI’s response in six weeks.

The court was hearing an appeal against an order of the Delhi high court sentencing Kumar to life imprisonment for conspiracy to commit murder during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, promoting enmity and for acts against communal harmony. The court had said that the riots were a “crime against humanity".

On 17 December, the Delhi high court had directed the 73-year-old Kumar and other five convicts to surrender by 31 December 2018 and not to leave the city of Delhi.

A division bench of justices S. Muralidhar and Vinod Goel ruled on appeals by the CBI, riots victims and the convicts who were challenging a trial court’s acquittal of Kumar in 2013.

The case related to killing of five Sikhs in the Raj Nagar area in south-west Delhi on 1 and 2 November 1984, and the burning down of a Gurdwara in the same area, in riots that broke out following the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on 31 October of that year. Thousands of people were killed in the riots.

Six accused, including Sajjan Kumar, who was a member of Parliament at that time, were tried in 2010. Three years later, the lower court had convicted five of the accused but acquitted Kumar of all the charges.

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