February 23, 2015 1:38:50 am
The Home Ministry has decided to take a fresh look into the case against Balwant Singh Rajaona, a Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) terrorist who was sentenced to death after his conviction in the case pertaining to the assassination of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh. The development follows the arrest of another BKI operative Jagtar Singh Tara, who was recently extradited from Thailand. Rajaona himself has refused to petition either the state government or the Supreme Court for a stay on his death sentence. He is currently lodged in a Punjab jail.
Sources said Home Minister Rajnath Singh has asked ministry officials to examine Rajaona’s case afresh in the light of new facts that could emerge after Tara’s interrogation.
“Since Rajaona has refused to petition any authority for clemency, Home Ministry has decided to look into his case afresh. Since Tara has been extradited from Thailand and is presently in the custody of Punjab Police, new facts could emerge in the case. Even if there is a fraction of a chance that Rajaona was involved in the assassination case, the entire case has to be relooked into,” said a senior home ministry official.
Tara, a co-accused in the case, was facing trial for allegedly assassinating Beant Singh when he escaped along with three others through a tunnel dug inside the jail, where they were lodged in 2004. Two of the three others have been arrested, while the third is still at large.
In 2012, when a local court fixed the date for Rajoana’s hanging, Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal and his son and Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal had sought clemency for him and petitioned the President, who had forwarded the request to the Home Ministry for examination.
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