In a top level contact with India, the German government had informed it would not have deported death row convict Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar from Frankfurt in 1995, had it known that he would be punished with the death penalty.
Following the rejection of Bhullar’s mercy petition by the then President Pratibha Patil in May 2011, the President of Germany wrote to her, expressing regret at Berlin’s decision to have sent him back home, according to official documents released under the Right to Information Act by the Rashtrapati Bhawan.
Germany had appealed to Patil “to ensure that death penalty was not carried out”, and the name of its President figures in the list of those who had filed mercy petitions on Bhullar’s behalf, seeking reprieve from the gallows.
“The German President stated that they deported Bhullar since they were unaware that he might face execution/death penalty in India contrary to German legal positions and practice,” states the official file noting provided to RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal.
“The German president has written that his country together with European Union advocates worldwide abolition of the death penalty. Under German law, no one could be extradited or deported from Germany who might face death penalty in his own country,” the document states.
Bhullar was named as an accused along with three others in a 1993 car bomb blast outside the Youth Congress office in the capital, in which nine persons were killed and 30 others injured.
He was arrested at Frankfurt airport in 1995 on charges of travelling on a fake passport and was deported back to India. A local Frankfurt court had declared his deportation illegal in 1997.
A special court in the capital had held him guilty under the then controversial anti terror law law - TADA (Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Prevention Act) in 2001, which was upheld by a majority 2:1 verdict by the Supreme Court a year later.
Germany and EU have raised questions over Bhullar’s verdict, saying he was the only accused to have been convicted in the case. One of his co-accused was extradited from the US on the condition that he would not be charged with death and two others could not be arrested.
Security stepped up in Punjab
Chandigarh: Security was stepped up across Punjab in the wake of uneasy calm among the radicals after the apex court rejected the petition of Khalistani terrorist Devinderpal Singh Bhullar to commute his death sentence.
The deployment of police has been increased by mobilising the Punjab Armed Police and Indian Reserve Battalion personnel in all districts.