With the hanging of Yakub Memon on Thursday morning, the focus has once again shifted to Patiala Central Jail, where Balwant Singh Rajoana is facing death sentence for former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh’s assassination.
Rajoana is in Jail since December 1995, when he was arrested for his role in former CM’s assassination. He, along with Jagtar Singh Hawara, was awarded death sentence by a CBI court, Chandigarh in year 2007. Hawara appealed in the high court for relief and his death penalty was reduced to life sentence. However, Rajoana never appealed against the verdict.
His death warrant was issued on March 12, 2012, but after a political outcry in which both the ruling SAD and the state unit of Congress party opposed the hanging, Rajoana’s death warrant was not executed.
Meanwhile, the SGPC at the insistence of SAD filed a mercy petition before the President. The President’s office, meanwhile, forwarded the petition to the home ministry for recommendation.
On March 28, 2012, based on the appeal filed by the SGPC, Union home ministry issued a stay on the execution of Rajoana. Later, CM Parkash Singh Badal along with Sukhbir Singh Badal met the then President Pratibha Patil and sought clemency for Rajoana.
However, the ministry of home affairs (MHA) explained that the stay on execution was in effect until the President gave any order concerning the mercy plea. Since then, Rajoana’s mercy petition has been pending with the MHA and the President.