3 acquitted in Ludhiana’s Shingar Cinema blast case
Three accused in the 2007 Shingar Cinema bomb blast case were on Tuesday acquitted here in the court of the additional sessions judge for want of evidence, while the fourth has died already in jail.
Six people were killed and more than 42 injured in the explosion during a movie show here on October 14, 2007. A case of murder, attempted murder, and violation of the explosives Act was then registered at police division number 6.
In November 2007, the police had named Gurpreet Singh of Rurka village near Mullanpur; Ravinder Singh “Rinku” of Abdulapur Basti; Sandeep Singh of Mullanpur; and Harwinder Singh as accused. In December 2007, Gurpreet, Ravinder, and Sandeep were arrested, while Harwinder was declared proclaimed offender and arrested, later, in 2010.
The arguments closed this December 11 and the judge scheduled verdict for Tuesday (December 16), when the three accused appeared in the court under police security in the morning; and around 4.30pm, additional sessions judge Hari Singh Grewal acquitted Gurpreet, Ravinder, and Harwinder.
Accused Sandeep Singh died in November 2011 in Nabha’s maximum security jail. After the verdict on Tuesday, the police moved the three acquitted men back to jail and will free them after getting the release orders.
Defence lawyer Jaspal Singh Manjhpur said the court had recorded the statements of 43 witnesses out of 80. The defence presented 13 witnesses.
The judge concluded that the prosecution had failed to prove its case and present enough evidence to prove the accused guilty. NS Aulakh, who was Punjab director general of police (DGP) at the time of the blast, had described the incident as an act of terror and claimed to have seized 5-kg RDX, three detonators, and two pistols from the four alleged Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) activists.
The police had also claimed that Harwinder and Gurpreet had received arms and explosives training in Pakistan, and on the day of the blast, Gurpreet, Sandeep, Harwinder and Ravinder had arrived at the cinema house aboard a three-wheeler.
“Sandeep and Gurpreet kept sitting aboard the auto-rickshaw, while Ravinder and Harwinder entered the theatre and bought the show tickets. Ravinder entered the hall and planted the bomb under his seat,” the police had then claimed, adding: “When the interval got over, he connected the bomb wires and moved out, to flee with the gang.”