A Delhi court on Saturday awarded life imprisonment to three persons for attempting to murder members of a Sikh family, during the 1984 riots, and imposed a fine of Rs 6 lakh for being involved in the crime.
Mangal Sen alias Billa, Brij Mohan Verma and Bhagat Singh were held guilty of attempt to murder, rioting and dacoity in Shastri Nagar in north Delhi by Additional Sessions Judge S S Rathi on August 22. The judge, who had made a strong indictment of the manner in which the Delhi police and the state machinery had acted during the anti-Sikh riots, pronounced the quantum of sentence against the three convicts in a packed court room.
The proceedings in the court witnessed high drama when a number of relatives, of the victims as well as the convicts, broke down in the courtroom after the judge pronounced the sentence.
During the arguments on the point of sentence, Public Prosecutor Irfan Ahmed sought the maximum punishment of life imprisonment against the convict, contending "they committed the crime without provocation. The victims had no defence, they were taken by surprise. The convict had no reason to commit the offence."
He further submitted that the convicts should be awarded deterrent punishment in order to send the right message to the society. All the three convicts, on the other hand, pleaded leniency on the ground of ill -health and their old age.
The anti-riots cell of the Delhi police had probed the incident, in which one Joginder Singh and his two sons Jagmohan Singh and Gurvinder Singh were seriously injured while their house was burnt by a mob, led by the convicts on November 1, 1984.
The case was re-investigated by the police on the recommendation of Justice Rangnath Mishra Commission in 1992 following an affidavit filed by Joginder Singh. The prosecution produced nine witnesses, including sons of Joginder, who had identified the accused during the trial to prove its charges against them.