Former Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) militant Devinderpal Singh Bhullar was on Monday acquitted in a 1992 Terrorists and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) case registered against him at the Batala Sadar police station.
Charges under section 307 (attempt to murder) of the Indian Penal Code, Arms Act and the Explosives Act were also slapped on Bhullar in the case that pertains to an encounter after a police party was ambushed by a group of militants.
Two militants were claimed to have been killed in the encounter and a policeman was injured .
The designated TADA court of Surinder Singh which heard the case, dismissed the chargesheet filed by the Batala police and discharged Bhullar for want of evidence. The court accepted the plea of Bhullar’s counsel that there was no direct evidence to suggest his client’s involvement and neither were there any witnesses in the case. The chargesheet was filed by police in February and the former militant was granted bail by the TADA court in March in the case.
The verdict by the designated TADA court will pave the way for Bhullar to apply for parole that was denied to him as he had not been acquitted in the Batala case.
Bhullar can now move an application before the government seeking parole. He has remained behind bars since his deportation to India in 1995 followed by his arrest in a blast case.
Despite his acquittal in the TADA case, Bhullar will continue to remain under detention for his involvement in the September 1993 blast outside the headquarters of the All India Youth Congress (AIYC) in New Delhi, resulting in death of eight persons. He was sentenced to death by a Delhi court in the case. His plea for parole will be considered after he moves an application seeking the same.
Though the Supreme Court had upheld his death penalty but later it was commuted to life term on medical grounds. Bhullar is currently undergoing treatment at the Guru Nanak Dev Hospital here. He was not present in the TADA court that heard his bail application.
He was admitted to the psychiatry ward of the hospital on June 12 last year after he was transferred on medical grounds from a hospital in New Delhi. He had complained of depression and other psychological problems. He was under detention at the Tihar Jail and was subsequently shifted to a hospital on the directions of the Supreme Court which took note of his mental condition.
Bhullar fled to Germany after the bomb blast and was deported to India in 1995 to stand trial in the case.
Dal Khalsa hails verdict
Radical Sikh group Dal Khalsa has hailed the verdict of the TADA court acquitting Bhullar. “We now hope that the government will consider Bhullar’s plea for parole and will order his release, so that he can spend time with his family,” Dal Khalsa spokesman Kanwar Pal Singh stated.
The case files
Dec 1992: Bhullar booked under TADA by Batala police after an encounter
Sept 1993: Blast outside AIYC headquarters in New Delhi kills nine. Bhullar, one of main accused, fleas to Germany
1995: Bhullar deported to India and arrested
Aug 2001: Trial court hands out death penalty to Bhullar, who is lodged in Tihar Jail. Subsequently appeals challenging death penalty in various courts dismissed.
2012: Bhullar’s treatment for depression begins, shifted to a hospital in Delhi
June 2015: Bhullar shifted to Amritsar hospital after SC accepts family’s plea
Feb 2016: Batala police file challan in ’92 TADA case
March 4: Bhullar gets bail in TADA case
April 4: Bhullar acquitted in TADA case