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Hawara acquitted in 1995 clock tower blast case

Hindustan Times, Ludhiana | By HT Correspondent, Ludhiana
PUBLISHED ON DEC 09, 2019 11:41 PM IST

The court of additional sessions judge Atul Kasana acquitted Babbar Khalsa militant Jagtar Singh Hawara in the Ludhiana clock-tower bomb blast case of 1995 on Monday. Police had booked five persons in the case, including Hawara, of which two now stand acquitted, two were declared proclaimed offenders and one was discharged by the court.

On December 6, 1995, at least 24 persons were injured in the blast that rocked Lottery Market near the clock tower when Khalistan movement was at its peak in Punjab. At least 24 people suffered injuries in the blast.

Hawara is currently serving a life term in the assassination case of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh in Delhi’s Tihar Jail. Court proceedings were held through video conferencing, with a total of 23 witnesses examined during the trial.

Jaspal Singh Manjpur, counsel for Hawara, said that no evidence was found against Hawara following which the court acquitted him. Charges were framed against Hawara on May 12, 2017 in this case, but the prosecution failed to produce any concrete evidence. Nothing incriminating came up against him and there was no recovery.

An FIR in the bomb blast was registered on December 6, 1995 under Sections 307 (attempt to murder), 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees or more), 34 of IPC and Sections 3, 4 and 5 of the Explosives Act, on the statement of Vinod Kumar, one of the injured.

Ludhiana police had included Hawara’s name in an FIR on December 11, 1995 and arrested him 12 days later on December 23. Thereafter, a chargesheet was filed in court on August 5, 1996 against Jagtar Singh Hawara, Bikramjit Singh, Paramjit Singh Bheora, Baljinder Singh and Pritam Singh.

Bikramjit Singh was acquitted on February 25, 2003 by local court of additional sessions judge Ludhiana Sunil Arora. Subsequently, Baljinder Singh and Pritam Singh were declared proclaimed offenders by court after police failed to arrest them. Paramjit Singh was discharged from the case on September 30, 2016 by the local court of judicial magistrate Varinder Kumar.

The injured Vinod Kumar had stated to police that he was sitting at his lottery counter in front of Kharaiti Lal Malhotra’s shop in the crowded area of Ghanta Ghar Chowk, when a blast ripped through the market engulfed the place in smoke. The impact of the blast shattered his glass counter while his legs were injured in the blast. After a while, he got to know that many others who were injured in the blast were admitted at Civil Hospital, Ludhiana and CMCH.

At least 37 cases were registered against Hawara of which he was convicted in six cases, and has been acquitted or discharged from the rest of the 31 cases.

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