A Delhi court has issued arrest warrants against five alleged Sikh militants, who were deported back to India in 2000 after serving a life term in Pakistan jail for hijacking an Air India plane to that country in 1981.
Additional chief metropolitan magistrate (ACMM) Sameer Bajpai issued non-bailable warrants against the five in pursuance of a sessions court order which had earlier directed their fresh trial here in the same case of hijacking, but for different offences arising out of it.
ACMM Bajpai issued the warrants taking cognisance of the Delhi police charge sheet, which was filed against the five in 2011 on the sessions court's order earlier.
"In my opinion, there is sufficient material to proceed against the accused persons. I, therefore, take cognisance of the offences under sections 121 (waging war against Government of India), 121A (conspiring to commit certain offences against the state), 124A (sedition) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC," said the ACMM.
The five against whom the NBWs were issued are Tejender Pal Singh, Satnam Singh, Gajender Singh, Karan Singh Kini and Jasbir Singh Jima. The court order asked police to execute the warrants by October 15.
The case against the five dated back to September 29, 1981 when they hijacked an Air India flight from New Delhi to Srinagar and forced it to land in Pakistan, where they were arrested and put on trial and sentenced to life imprisonments.
After serving their terms, they were deported back to India in 2000 after which one of them, Satnam Singh, moved the court here for his discharge in the case registered here in connection with the 31-year-old hijacking incident.
Ironically, he was even discharged by another sessions court, which had said he cannot be put on trial for the same offence twice as per the legal doctrine of double jeopardy, which prohibits double punishment for the same offence.
After Satnam Singh was given the relief, Tejinder Singh too moved the court, this time presided by another judge, for his discharge. But the court denied him the relief and asked police to investigate the case afresh and file charge sheet against all the five including Satnam Singh.
ACMM Bajpai subsequently issued NBW against them, taking cognisance of the charge sheet and saying that "the offence for which the accused persons were convicted in Pakistan is quite distinct and separate from offences for which the present charge sheet has been filed."