Beant’s killer can’t be hanged in Punjab, says DGP (prisons)
He has expressed his desire to be hanged at the earliest, but Balwant Singh Rajoana, the radical convicted for the assassination of then chief minister Beant Singh, might just get a longer lease of life.chandigarh Updated: Mar 16, 2012 10:45 IST
He has expressed his desire to be hanged at the earliest, but Balwant Singh Rajoana, the radical convicted for the assassination of then chief minister Beant Singh, might just get a longer lease of life.
Director general of police (DGP), prisons, Shashi Kant on Thursday shot off a letter to state home secretary DS Bains, arguing against the hanging of Rajoana inside Punjab. “This prisoner be transferred back to Burail Jail (in Chandigarh) for the execution of the death sentence,” Kant wrote in his official communique, emphasising that it was the UT police who had arrested Rajoana in November 1995, and booked him.
It was on August 31, 1995, that a suicide bomber, Dilawar Singh, blew himself up outside the Punjab civil secretariat, killing Beant. Rajoana was the back-up bomber, and later confessed to his role.
A special trial court in Chandigarh on July 31, 2007, sentenced Babbar Khalsa terrorists Jagtar Singh Hawara and Rajoana to death. Rajoana did not appeal against the judgment. The death penalty of Hawara, who filed an appeal against it, was converted into a life sentence, and the judicial warrant for Rajoana’s execution was issued on January 15, 2010.
But with the date not fixed, Rajoana himself asked the court to fix a date. Thus, Chandigarh additional sessions judge Shalini Nagpal on Tuesday issued orders for hanging Rajoana on March 31 at 9pm.
“We are also unable to do so (the hanging) because neither the Central Jail, Patiala has a hang man… more so no execution has taken place from long time, and the mechanism regarding the execution is totally non-functional in the Patiala Central Jail,” Kant argued in his Thursday letter.
With the letter, Kant also attached the communique of the Patiala jail authorities, dated March 13, 2012, which had made the same point and had also asked the DGP, prisons (Kant) to take up the matter immediately with the state government.
Home secretary Bains told HT that he would comment on the issue only after looking at the letter.
It is learnt that Kant also met the state advocate general for cancellation or amendment in the “death warrant” so that the hanging becomes the job of the Chandigarh administration.
Kant’s move could be seen as a sigh of relief for the Akali-BJP government, which would not want to anger radical groups by executing Rajoana. Sources told HT that chief minister Parkash Sigh Badal has been advised to put the ball in the UT’s court.
Rajoana, meanwhile, remains unfazed in his cell, sources told HT. He has refused to meet leaders from Sikh organisations, including the Damdami Taksal.