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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

Rajoana sentenced, set free in explosives case

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times  Patiala, February 06, 2013
First Published: 11:42 IST(6/2/2013) | Last Updated: 20:02 IST(6/2/2013)

Terrorist Balwant Singh Rajoana (46) has received 10-year rigorous imprisonment (RI) for carrying 12-kilogram explosive and detonators to Patiala ahead of the Prime Minister's visit in 1995.

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Additional district and sessions judge Sanjiv Berry here on Wednesday awarded the sentence in a case that was registered in 1995 at Rajpura. Prior to the PM's visit, Rojoana had assassinated chief minister Beant Singh in 1995, and was a fugitive in that case.

Rajoana, on death row for the assassination of Beant Singh, is in the high-security jail here.

He has spent 10 years in detention already, so he'll be set free in the explosives case.

On December 22, 1995, Rajpura sub-inspector Devinder Singh had arrested Rajoana during the frisking of people before the PM's visit to Punjabi University, Patiala. When caught, Rajoana tried to swallow a cyanide capsule but the police didn't let him commit suicide. From his bag, they seized 12-kg RDX. Rajoana was then proclaimed offender in the Beant Singh murder case, in which he got death sentence in 2004.

The police had also seized 43 detonators, five switches, two revolvers, 10 pencil bombs, and seven bundles of wires from him. The additional district and sessions judge Sanjiv Berry held him guilty under Section 5 (possessing material for bomb blast) of the Explosive Substances Act, and besides imprisonment, gave him an order to either submit Rs. 10,000 as fine or undergo another six months of imprisonment.

On March 31, 2012, he was to be hanged in the assassination case, but two days before, the union home ministry stayed his execution to prevent radicals from creating disturbance in the state.

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) had filed clemency appeal on his behalf and gave him the title of living martyr. February 16 is the next hearing in another case against him under the Arms Act.

For the hearing on Wednesday, a heavy police security was put around court.

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