The Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday admitted the appeal of suspected Khalistan Commando Force (KCF) terrorist Balbir Singh Bira alias Bhootna, who had challenged life imprisonment awarded to him by a Ludhiana trial court in a 2009 murder case.
Admitting the appeal, the high court has stayed the recovery of fine (Rs 35,000) imposed by the trial court while convicting Bhootna, a native of Chak Techniwal village in Ferozepur district.
The trial court had in August convicted and sentenced Bhootna to life imprisonment for a vendor’s murder. Bhootna had shot dead the vendor and injured two GRP (government railway police) constables at the city railway station on August 25, 2009. The court had acquitted Bhootna’s wife Sukhjinder Kaur of all charges.
Through the appeal, Bhootna has challenged his conviction for murder, attempt to murder and under various sections of the Arms Act. He was acquitted of all charges under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
Bhootna and Sukhjinder were booked on August 28, 2009, at the GRP police station under sections 302 and 307 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act and sections 15 and 16 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
During checking at Ludhiana railway station, Bhootna, who was accompanied by his wife, had opened fire at the GRP constables, leaving two injured. He had later murdered a vendor when the latter tried to catch hold of him. He was arrested about four hours later.