Former Congress councillor Balwan Khokhar, who is serving life term in connection with a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, today urged the Delhi High Court not to conduct re-trial in the cases in which he has been acquitted, saying it would affect his entire life. Khokhar was responding to the high court's March 29, 2017, decision ordering re-investigation and re-trial of five anti-Sikh riot cases against him and others. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Anu Malhotra had sought to know from them as to why it should not order re-investigation and re-trial against them as they had faced allegations of "horrifying crimes against humanity". 69-year old Khokhar, who is currently behind bars in another riots case, by way of an affidavit also claimed that he had never indulged in any criminal activity. "Rather he helped the riot victims at later stage. He had been named by the complainant after a long period which is totally an afterthought.
He had no role to play in the riots committed by unruly mob," the affidavit stated. Khokhar was produced before the court from the Tihar Jail here. It said when a group of 200-500 people attacked a house, it is very hard to recognise a single person in the mob. "The re-investigation/re-trial of cases in which he had been acquitted by the trial court will affect his whole life. He has already been arrested and sent behind bars and released on bail and thereafter faced the trial and after a long period of 33 years, if the case is reopened, it will affect his whole life," the affidavit said. Urging the court to take a lenient view, he said no fruitful purpose would be served by reopening old cases which had resulted in his acquittal due to non-appearance of prosecution witnesses. The high court on its own had issued show cause notices to several accused and complainants seeking their response to "secure ends of justice" after perusing the trial court records regarding the acquittal of accused in 1986 in five different cases. The riots had broken out a day after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984 and over 2,700 people were killed in Delhi alone. 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 is under challenge by CBI, the riot victims and convicts. Besides Khokhar, the high court had issued notices to 11 accused, including ex-MLA Mahender Yadav, on the complaints filed regarding rioting incidents on November 1 and 2, 1984 in Delhi Cantonment area. Khokhar was convicted in a riots case at Delhi Cantonment in which Kumar was acquitted by a trial court.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)