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'No Bhullar deportation if we knew of case'

delhi Updated: Jul 20, 2011 00:37 IST
Nagendar Sharma
Nagendar Sharma
Hindustan Times
Nagendar Sharma

In a high level contact, the German government had informed India it would not have deported death row convict Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar from Frankfurt in 1995, had it known he might face death penalty here.

In the details provided under the RTI by the Rashtrapati Bhawan, it has also come to light that there were serious differences of opinion on this issue between the home and external affairs ministries of the UPA government in 2005.

According to file notings provided to RTI activist, Subhash Chandra Agrawal, the President of Germany had raised the issue with the Indian President before Bhullar's mercy petition was rejected in May this year.

"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 he extradited or deported from Germany who might face death penalty in his own country," stated the Rashtrapati Bhawan reply.

"The German President further 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," stated the RTI reply.

Bhullar and three others was named an accused in a car bomb blast outside the Youth Congress office in 1993, in which nine persons were killed.

He was arrested at Frankfurt airport in 1995 on charges of travelling on a fake passport and was deported back to India.

The RTI reply shows that the home and external affairs ministries in 2005 were sharply divided on the issue.

"Since several petitions ... were received, the external affairs ministry considered the matter. With the approval of then minister Natwar Singh, the ministry informed the home ministry that it favoured commutation of death sentence to life imprisonment," the reply says.