Beant Singh assassination case deferred to Monday
Chandigarh, July 28 (UNI) The Special CBI Court today adjourned the Beant Singh assassination case for Monday after the defence counsel boycotted the court proceedings alleging that the staff at the high security Burail Jail 'misbehaved' with them while they were entering the prison premises, where the court was held.
The Court of Special Judge Ravi Kumar was to pronounce the quantum of sentence today for main conspirator and Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) terrorist Jagtar Singh Hawara and his five associates. The Judge had yesterday found Hawara, Gurmit Singh, Shamsher Singh, Lakhwinder Singh and Balwant Singh guilty of murder, attempt to murder, conspricy to murder and under the explosives act.
The sixth accused, Naseeb Singh was found guilty under section-five of the explosives act. The Court had, however, acquited Navjot Singh, as the CBI during the trial failed to produce sufficient evidence of his involvement in the crime.
The then chief minister Beant Singh and 16 others were killed in a powerful bomb explosion outside the Punjab Civil Secretariat on Auguist 31, 1995.
As the court assembled to pronounce the sentence, the defence lawyers refused to present their arguments on the verdict contending that the jail officials had insulted them at the gates by stopping them and insisting on frisking them. At this the Judge deferred the pronouncement of his judgement for Monday.
Later talking to mediapersons outside the jail premises, the defence team led by A S Chahal and Arvind Thakur alleged that the jail staff threatened to arrest them if they objected to the frisking. They maintained that for the past 11-years they had been coming to argue the case and had never been 'treated' in such a manner.
The prosecution, however, presented their views on the Court's verdict and demanded that Hawara, Gurmit, Lakhwinder, Shamsher and Balwant Singh be awarded the death sentence. The prosecution contended that they were involved in a henious crime that included smuggling explosives from another country, hatching a conspricy and then finally giving shape to the crime.