The Supreme Court on Friday sought a response from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on a petition moved by Babbar Khalsa terrorist Jagtar Singh Hawara, the mastermind in the assassination of then Punjab chief minister Beant Singh in 1995, challenging his conviction and life imprisonment.
A bench comprising justices BS Chauhan and SA Bobde issued a notice to the agency on the appeal filed by Hawara against the October 12, 2010, judgment of the Punjab and Haryana high court.
The high court had commuted Hawara's death penalty and sentenced him to life imprisonment "till death", holding that it was a borderline case for capital punishment.
However, the CBI had on December 5, 2011, moved the apex court seeking death penalty for him, saying that the offence fell under the category of 'rarest-of-the-rare' cases.
While pressing for death penalty, the agency had said it was a most serious offence where 17 people were killed, including the chief minister, and 15 were injured.
The high court had upheld the death sentence given by the trial court to Balwant Singh, while confirming the life sentence of Shamsher Singh, Gurmeet Singh and Lakhwinder Singh.
Suicide bomber Dilawar Singh and his accomplices had assassinated 73-year-old Beant Singh in a blast on August 31, 1995, at the entrance of the civil secretariat in Chandigarh. Dilawar, too, was killed in the explosion.