In a setback to Congress leader Sajjan Kumar, the Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed his plea for quashing of charges against him in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.

A bench headed by Justice A.K. Patnaik refused to grant relief to the former MP who approached the apex court challenging the trial court and the Delhi High Court orders turning down his plea for quashing of charges against him.

The bench also dismissed the similar pleas of other accused, Ved Prakash Pial and Brahmanand Gupta in the case.

The trial court had in July 2010 framed various charges including murder and rioting against Mr. Sajjan Kumar, Mr. Brahmanand Gupta, Peru, Khushal Singh and Mr. Ved Prakash Pial in connection with killing of a man in Sultanpuri area in the riots that had occurred after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984. Accused Khushal Singh died during pendency of the case.

Dismissing Mr. Kumar’s plea, the high court had affirmed the trial court’s order, saying charges could be framed if there is a strong suspicion leading the court to think there is ground for presuming that the accused has committed the offence.

The high court had also rejected the pleas of Mr. Pial and Mr. Gupta challenging the framing of charges against them.

The High Court had, however, refused to frame additional charge of conspiracy against Mr. Kumar, Mr. Pial and Mr. Gupta, saying there is “no evidence to show the meeting of minds”.

“It is a settled law that at the initial stage if there is a strong suspicion which leads the court to think that there is ground for presuming that the accused has committed the offence, a charge would be framed,” the High Court had said.

CBI had earlier said in the trial court though the charge sheet pertains to killing of six persons, it was only restricting the charge relating to murder of Surjit Singh and not of other deceased persons in respect of whom the trial had already taken place.

The trial court had also framed charges for the offence of spreading enmity between two communities against the accused in the case.

CBI had filed two charge sheets against Mr. Kumar and others in January 2010 in the riots cases registered in 2005 on the recommendation of Justice G.T. Nanavati Commission which had probed the sequence of events leading to the violence.