Rajoana's hanging not on March 31: Punjab Deputy CM

Punjab Map
Chandigarh, Mar 26: The hanging of Beant Singh assassination case convict Balwant Singh Rajoana would not take place on March 31 as ordered by a local court, Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said on Monday, Mar 26.

Sukhbir, who also holds the Home portfolio, told reporters here that "our duty is to maintain law and order at any cost. Hanging is not going to take place," he said.

He said the order for execution of Rajoana cannot be carried out since SGPC has filed a petition before the President seeking clemency for him. The appeal of another convict Lakhwinder Singh is also pending in the Supreme Court, he added.

He said Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal made a clear statement in the state assembly earlier today saying he would soon be calling on the President and the Prime Minister in order to secure clemency for Rajoana and get his death sentence commuted to life imprisonment.

Rajoana, who is lodged in Central Jail at Patiala in Punjab, himself has not filed any mercy or review petition following the recent order of the Additional Sessions Judge of Chandigarh Shalini Singh Nagpal fixing March 31 as the date of hanging of Rajoana.

Sukhbir said SAD would soon seek an appointment with the President to seek clemency for Rajoana "to maintain the hard earned peace in the state."

Sukhbir evaded an answer to the question if the state government was trying to please hardliners by making a statement seeking clemency for Rajoana who himself has neither filed a mercy petition nor a review petition.

"Our policy is clear on law and order. It will not be allowed to be disturbed. More so, the case of an co-accused is pending before the Supreme Court. In no way, the hanging (of Rajoana) can take place," he told the questioner.

On SAD's ally BJP taking a different stand that law should take its own course, Sukhbir said "I will not make any statement on this issue."

The special CBI court had awarded death sentence to Rajoana and Jagtar Singh Hawara in the Beant Singh case on August 1, 2007. Three others -- Lakhwinder Singh, Gurmeet Singh and Shamsher Singh -- were sentenced to life imprisonment for hatching the conspiracy to kill Beant Singh.

Rajoana did not appeal against the judgment. The death penalty of Hawara, who filed an appeal against it, was commuted to life sentence.

Beant Singh was killed on August 31, 1995, in Chandigarh when a suicide bomber Dilawar Singh blew himself up as the then chief minister stepped out of his office in high-security state secretariat.

Rajoana was the second human bomb to be used in case if Dilawar had failed in his mission.


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