Former Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) militant Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar was on Thursday produced before the designated court hearing cases registered under the Terrorists and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) in the districts of Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Tarn Taran during the period of militancy in Punjab.
The summons to Bhullar for appearance were issued recently after the Batala police filed a challan in the TADA court in a case registered against the former militant on December 23, 1992, when terrorism was its peak in the state. The case was registered under Section 307 of the IPC (attempt to murder) and the Explosives Act at the Batala Sadar police station with Bhullar being named as one of the accused.
Bhullar, along with his lawyer Jaspal Singh, was escorted under heavy police security from the psychiatry ward of Guru Nanak Dev Hospital of the Government Medical College here to the district courts complex. Neither his wife nor any other relative accompanied him to the court. However, a couple of doctors were with him.
He was escorted by the cops before TADA court special judge SS Sawhney. The court did not hear any arguments in the case considering that the accused was undergoing medical treatment. The judge directed the defence and prosecution counsels as well as the police to present before the court a detailed medical status report of Bhullar on March 1.
“Proceedings in the case will commence only after reviewing the medical status report--that is whether he (Bhullar) is fit to stand trial in the case,” the judge said.
Bhullar was admitted to the psychiatry ward of the hospital on June 12 last year after he was transferred here on medical grounds from a hospital in New Delhi, where he had been admitted after he complained of depression and other psychiatric 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.
Youth Cong headquarters blast case
The former KLF militant was the main accused in the September 1993 bomb explosion case outside the headquarters of the All India Youth Congress (AIYC) in New Delhi that left nine people, including security personnel, dead. The target of the militants was the then AIYC chief Maninderjit Singh Bitta, who escaped with injuries.
Subsequently, Bhullar fled to Germany and it was in 1995 that he was deported to India and was formally arrested in the AIYC headquarters blast case. He was awarded the death penalty by a lower court on August 25, 2001 and the decision was upheld by the Supreme Court.
Mercy petitions filed by Bhullar’s family were dismissed. It was during his long detention at the Tihar jail that he complained of mental illness and depression. Taking a lenient view of his condition, the Supreme Court allowed him to be shifted to a hospital and later commuted his death penalty to life sentence. The court allowed the convict to be shifted to Amritsar after considering his plea that due to the nature of his illness he desired to be close to his family.
December 1992: Bhullar booked under TADA by Batala police
September 1993: Bomb explosion outside AIYC headquarters in New Delhi. Nine killed, Bhullar one of the main accused, flees to Germany
1995: Bhullar is deported to India from Germany and arrested in AIYC blast case
August 2001: A lower court in Delhi hands out death penalty to Bhullar. Lodged in Tihar jail.
Subsequently, death penalty challenged in various courts. All courts, including Supreme Court, uphold verdict and also dismiss mercy petitions
Bhullar begins to undergo treatment for depression and mental illness from 2012 and is admitted to a hospital in Delhi
On family’s plea, Supreme Court allows Bhullar to be shifted to Amritsar. Transferred to Amritsar Central Jail on June 12, 2015 and on same day admitted to psychiatry ward of Guru Nanak hospital