The Supreme Court on Friday paved way for trial of three accomplices of Babbar Khalsa militant Jagtar Singh Hawara, the mastermind in the killing of Punjab chief minister Beant Singh in 1995, by asking its Registry to send judicial records to the trial court.
A bench comprising Justices T S Thakur and V Gopala Gowda, which has been hearing the appeal of CBI seeking death penalty for Hawara, serving life term in the case, directed the apex court registry to send case records back to the Chandigarh sessions court concerned for initiation of trial against co-accused Jagtar Singh Tara, Paramjeet Singh Bheora and Devi Singh.
Solicitor general Ranjit Kumar, appearing for CBI, told the court that the trial in the Beant Singh’s murder has not concluded against Tara, who was arrested earlier this year after he had escaped from Burail jail at Chandigarh in 2004.
He said the additional sessions judge has sought records of the case in order to proceed with the trial as they are presently with the apex court registry.
Kumar requested the bench to direct the registry to send the records to the trial court.
Taking note of the submission, the court deferred the hearing on the plea of CBI, which had sought death penalty for Hawara saying the offence fell under the category of ‘rarest of rare’ cases.
It is also hearing the appeal of Hawara, lodged in Tihar jail here, against the trial court decision awarding jail term for remainder of life.
In 2004, Hawara had escaped from maximum security jail at Burail in Punjab along with Tara, Bheora and Devi Singh by digging a 90-feet tunnel with bare hands.
Jagtar Singh Hawara and Bheora were re-arrested within the next two years. Tara, a proclaimed offender (PO) in this case, was arrested from Thailand in January this year, while Devi Singh is absconding and has also been declared a PO. The Punjab and Haryana high court had on October 12, 2010 commuted the death penalty of Hawara and sentenced him to life imprisonment “till death” in the chief minister’s murder case. 17 persons, including the then CM, were killed and 15 others were injured in the incident.
The CBI later moved the apex court seeking death penalty for Hawara, saying the offence fell under the category of ‘rarest of rare’ cases.
The high court had upheld the death sentence given by the trial court to Balwant Singh while confirming the life sentence of Shamsher Singh, Gurmeet Singh and Lakhwinder Singh.
Suicide bomber Dilawar Singh and his accomplices killed 73-year-old Beant Singh in a blast on August 31, 1995 at the entrance of the 10-storeyed civil secretariat in Chandigarh in which 17 others were also killed. Dilawar Singh too was killed in the explosion.