Slaps contempt notice on jail official
Dismissing the plea for deferring the execution of Balwant Singh Rajoana, convicted in the Beant Singh assassination case, Additional District and Sessions Judge Shalini Nagpal has ordered that he be hanged, as scheduled, on March 31.
Patiala Jail Superintendent Lakhvinder Singh Jakhar, who was also served with notice for contempt of court, was directed to execute the death warrant.
Mr. Jakhar, who had returned the warrant, filed a petition for deferment of the execution on technical and legal grounds.
The court upheld the arguments of CBI counsel that the decision to hang Rajoana in the jail was well within the ambit of law.
The court initiated contempt proceedings against Mr. Jakhar for returning the warrant and expressing his inability to comply with it.
Mr. Jakhar said in a release that he would approach the higher court as he was “unable and disabled in law” to accept the death warrant.
Additional Advocate-General A.S Grewal, who appeared for Mr. Jakhar, told reporters that an appeal would be filed on Wednesday.
In August 2007, a special CBI court awarded the death sentence to Rajoana, who was a police constable and top operative of terror outfit Babbar Khalsa International; and Jagtar Singh Hawara. Shamsher Singh, Lakhwinder Singh and Gurmeet Singh were given life imprisonment.
Rajoana decided against going on appeal. Hawara's sentence was commuted to life term. Lakhwinder Singh's appeal is pending in the Supreme Court.
Beant Singh, MLA Baldev Singh and 16 others were killed, when suicide bomber Dilawar Singh detonated an explosive device as the former Chief Minister was sitting in his bullet-proof car in the portico of the Punjab and Haryana Civil Secretariat on August 31, 1995.
During the trial, Rajoana confessed that he was a standby bomber, in case something went wrong, or Dilawar Singh backed out.
Meanwhile, keeping in view the developments, the Punjab government has requisitioned paramilitary forces to assist the police in maintaining law and order.
While extra vigil was being mounted, the police and other security forces organised flag marches in many sensitive areas across the State and conducted search operations.