CBI fails to move plea seeking resumption of trial against Tara

  • Shailee Dogra, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Jul 29, 2015 10:33 IST

It has been about six months when Babbar Khalsa terrorist Jagtar Singh Tara, a proclaimed offender in the Beant Singh assassination case, was arrested from Thailand, but premier investigation agency CBI has failed to move application seeking resumption of trial against him.

Conspirator of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh's assassination, Tara was arrested after 11 years of escape in 2004 from high-security Burail jail, but his trial is not likely to begin soon as the CBI is yet to file application before the court informing them about his arrest and seeking resumption of the trial.

Tara's trial would have to be conducted in the Burial jail itself in the wake of the notification under the 268 Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), prohibiting transportation of Tara from the Burail jail. This implies that till the time his trial in the case is not complete, he cannot be moved out of the jail, leaving question mark on the fate of commencement of the trial in other cases pending against him.

As per the notification, Tara's movement from the Burail Jail is prohibited as the Section 268 of the CrPC (person shall not be removed from prison till the completion of the trial), imposed on the accused of assassination of former Punjab CM.

Tara faces charges of murder and conspiracy for assassinating Beant Singh and conspiracy charge in the Burail jail break. He was arrested in 1996 for killing then CM and 12 members of his staff by a human bomb. Tara, who was a member of militant group Babbar Khalsa at the time of the assassination and had later joined the Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF), was hiding in Pakistan for several years after his escape, before going to Thailand.

When Tara had escaped from the jail, the trial was already on in the CM assassination case. He was facing charges of murder and conspiracy for assassination and about 60 witnesses had already been examined. So now, following his arrest, the trial against him had to resume, which could not be done as the CBI had not sought resumption of trial qua him even when other accused in the case have been convicted.

Cops yet to file challan against Tara in jail break case

Even the UT police is yet to file challan against Tara in the jail break case. Following his arrest, the UT police were to file separate challan against him in the jail break case. The trial against other accused in the jail break case was on the verge of completion, wherein Tara was arrested so he would face separate trial.

Cases against Tara Burail jail break

Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) chief Jagtar Singh Hawara and BKI India operations chief Paramjit Singh Bheora and two other accomplices - Jagtar Singh Tara and Devi Singh - had escaped from the Burail Jail in January 2004 by digging a tunnel. While Hawara and Bheora were arrested from Delhi, Tara was arrested in January from Thailand, while Singh, is still absconding.

Beant Singh assassination

Tara was accused of conspiring to kill Beant Singh before he fled in January 2004. Former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh was killed in a bomb blast outside Punjab and Haryana secretariat on August 31, 1995. The blast had killed the CM, along with 17 others and Punjab Police constable Dilawar Singh, who acted as a human bomb.

Nine persons were accused by the CBI, namely Jagtar Singh Hawara, Jagtar Singh Tara and Paramjit Singh Bheora, Gurmeet Singh, Lakhwinder Singh, Shamsher Singh, Naseeb Singh and Navjot Singh. The court in July 2007 had convicted five persons, including Hawara and Bheora, who are currently lodged in Tihar jail. Their appeal against conviction is pending before the Punjab and Haryana high court.

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