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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

Rajoana not shifted to Delhi: ADGP

PTI  Patiala, March 07, 2013
First Published: 13:23 IST(7/3/2013) | Last Updated: 14:01 IST(7/3/2013)

Punjab police on Thursday dismissed as baseless reports that Balwant Singh Rajoana, on death row for assassination of former chief minister Beant Singh in 1995, has been shifted to New Delhi.

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Additional Director General of Punjab police (Prisons) Rajpal Meena said the claims that Rajoana was secretively shifted to New Delhi last night were "totally baseless and far-away to reality" and the convict was still lodged in Patiala jail.

"The reports regarding shifting of Rajoana are totally baseless and a section of media has mentioned the story of shifting the convict (which) is far from reality," Meena said.

Intelligence and jail sources in Patiala said Rajoana is lodged in his barrack and went through his daily routine this morning.

The reports came amid demands for early execution of other convicts on death row, including the assassins of Rajiv Gandhi and Beant Singh, after 26/11 Mumbai attack terrorist Ajmal Kasab and Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru were hanged.

Rajya Sabha was informed on Wednesday that constitutional review petitions of nine death row prisoners, including Rajoana, are currently pending with the government.

Rajoana had appeared before the court on March 2 through video conferencing and court had fixed March 16 as the next date of hearing in connection with an Arms Act case registered in Sadar police station in Patiala.

Due to security concerns, Patiala central jail authorities have used video conferencing mode to produce Rajoana before court, officials said.

A local court in December 2012 had passed orders to hear Rajoana's case through video conferencing and he was to be presented in the court on January 15 this year.

However, Rajoana refused to use this mode and demanded that he be presented in person.

Following the request of Rajoana, the court had agreed to his demand and police presented Rajoana on January 21 2013 amid tight security.

Since police had to make huge security arrangements during every court hearing, Rajoana could not be presented in courts on many dates due to lack of security and VVIP visits to Patiala city, police said.

Rajoana's death sentence was confirmed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court and a Chandigarh court had issued his execution warrants for March 31 in 2012.

However, before the date of execution, Shiromani Gurudwara Prabhandak Committee and SAD leaders moved a constitutional review petition under Article 72 of the Constitution urging clemency for Rajoana.

As a procedural effect of the petition moved before President of India, Rajoana's hanging was indefinitely postponed.

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