The district court here on Monday awarded 12-year rigorous imprisonment (RI) to Akali worker Jora Singh for an attempt on the life of Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, former vice-chancellor of Sri Guru Granth Sahib World University, Fatehgarh Sahib, and Punjabi University, Patiala.
Ahluwalia had been shot at outside his office at the world university, run by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), on August 1, 2011. He had been admitted to the Chandigarh-based Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), from where he was discharged two months later.
The court of district and sessions judge Kuldip Singh awarded 12-year RI for attempt to murder and three-year RI under the Arms Act, apart from a fine of Rs. 2.5 lakh. Both sentences will run concurrently. The judge also ordered that out of the total fine, Rs. 1.5 lakh shall be paid to Ahluwalia as compensation.
According to advocate Sarabjit Singh Waraich, the judge took a serious note of the incident and remarked that violence in an educational institute and attacking its head was intolerable. Sarabjit, along with Narinderpal Singh Waraich, pleaded Ahluwalia's case. "It's an exemplary punishment as the accused usually get a lighter sentence in attempt-to-murder cases," said Sarabjit.
Jora Singh (40), an Akali worker from Khanauri (Sangrur), had approached then vice-chancellor Ahluwalia on July 31, 2011, with a letter from SAD general secretary Prem Singh Chandumajra, seeking admission for a relative, Vishawjit Singh. However, Ahluwalia refused to oblige him as the student's marks were less than the eligibility cut-off.
Jora Singh had arrived at the university the next day with a revolver and shot at the V-C from close range before fleeing from the spot.
On August 3, 2011, a police team led by then Fatehgarh Sahib senior superintendent of police (SSP) Ranbir Singh Khatra had arrested the accused from Khanauri. He had been booked under Section 307 (attempt to murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 27 of the Arms Act.
The accused had later confessed to the crime.
Ahluwalia, a former civil servant and Punjabi poet, had taken over as vice-chancellor of Sri Guru Granth Sahib World University in June 2008. He was removed from the post last year after an SGPC committee indicted him of embezzlement of funds.
Earlier, Ahluwalia had held the post of V-C of Punjabi University from May 1999 to April 2002. He was sacked by the Capt Amarinder Singh-led Congress government following a student's complaint of sexual harassment.