The trial against terrorist Jagtar Singh Tara (42) in the Punjab chief minister Beant Singh assassination case started on Friday in the additional district and sessions court.
The trial will run in the Burail jail as Tara cannot be moved out of the complex. The UT administration, through a notification issued under Section 268 of the code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) imposed on Tara has restricted his movement outside the Burail jail.
AK Ohri, former superintendent of police, Central Bureau of Investigations, Delhi, deposed as a witness in the case on Friday.
The trial records were received by the court of additional sessions judge JS Sidhu from the apex court in December last year.
Tara in January had refused to contest the case. During his hearing, in front of additional sessions judge JS Sidhu on January 6, Tara had handed over a three-page letter to the judge. He had said he has no faith in the Indian Constitution.
So far, 17 out of 248 witnesses are to be examined. The court has summoned the witnesses including Chandigarh cops to depose during trial. Sources said that few witnesses are not alive.
‘Tara conspired to kill Beant Singh’
Tara was accused of conspiring to kill Beant Singh before he fled in January 2004. Former Punjab CM was killed in a bomb blast outside Punjab and Haryana secretariat on August 31, 1995. The blast had killed 17 others and Punjab police constable Dilawar Singh acted as a human bomb.
Nine — Jagtar Singh Hawara, Jagtar Singh Tara and Paramjit Singh Bheora, Gurmeet Singh, Lakhwinder Singh, Shamsher Singh, Naseeb Singh, Balwant Singh Rajoana and Navjot Singh — were accused by the CBI. The court in July 2007 had convicted five persons, including Hawara and Bheora.
On October 12, 2010, the Punjab and Haryana high court had commuted Hawara’s death penalty and sentenced him to life imprisonment till death in the assassination case.
Arrested 11 years after escape
Tara, along with Jagtar Singh Hawara, Paramjit Singh Bheora and Devi Singh, who used to cook for them in the jail, had escaped after digging about 109-feet-long tunnel inside the jail in January, 2004.
Arrested in a joint operation of central agencies and Thailand police, he was deported from Bangkok and brought to India on January 16, 2015, by a team of Punjab police.