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The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Monday opposed the anticipatory bail plea of former Congress MP Sajjan Kumar, accused in two anti-Sikh riot cases, and said he may influence witnesses if granted bail.

Arguing on behalf of Sajjan Kumar, senior advocate I.U. Khan said the case had been dragging on for years but the petitioner (Sajjan) had never tried to influence any witness or tampered with evidence.

“No complaint of any misconduct with the case property or of threatening is ever registered against Sajjan,” Khan said before Sessions Judge P.S. Teji.

On the other hand, the CBI counsel argued that the case was sensitive in nature and people’s emotions were attached to it.

“Although no complaint was ever registered against Sajjan and other accused in the case, the fact is that witnesses are scared and did not feel safe,” CBI said.

Citing how the CBI has to go to Amritsar to record the statement of a witness in the case, the CBI counsel said: “The offence is of grave nature and granting bail at this stage may hamper the investigation.”

Refuting CBI’s allegation, Khan said: “This is not the case wherein custodial interrogation is needed…He is not absconding anywhere. His conduct is clear.”

After hearing the arguments, the court reserved its order for 4 p.m.

The charges against Sajjan Kumar by the CBI are non-bailable. The court has already reserved orders for the bail applications filed by his co-accused in the case.

Earlier, the trial court had issued summons to Sajjan Kumar and six co-accused after taking cognizance of the charge sheets filed against them in two cases relating to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Lokesh Kumar Sharma sought the presence of the 62-year-old Congress leader and others before the court Feb 17, prompting him to seek relief from a sessions court.

On Jan 13, the CBI had filed two charge sheets in two riot cases against Sajjan Kumar and others.

The first charge sheet relates to the killing of five people in the Delhi Cantonment area, and the second to the death of many in riots in Sultanpuri. The investigating agency charged Sajjan Kumar and others under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including 302 (murder), 153-A (rioting) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy).

Sajjan Kumar is among those accused of instigating mobs that killed over 3,000 Sikhs across Delhi in the days following the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi in October 1984.

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