Chandigarh: A Sessions court on Tuesday ordered that death row convict Balwant Singh Rajoana, convicted for his involvement in the 1995 assassination of former Chief Minister Beant Singh, be hanged as scheduled on March 31 as the Punjab government said it would challenge the order. Dismissing the petition of Patiala Central Jail Superintendent L R Jakhar seeking deferment of the execution, the court here also returned the warrant of execution for compliance. Don't plead to save me from gallows, Rajoana tells Akalis (Agencies)
In a jam-packed courtroom, Additional District and Sessions Judge, Shalini Singh Nagpal, said "the execution order is returned for compliance."
The death warrant should be executed as directed earlier, the Judge said during the proceedings lasting barely three minutes.
The Judge also issued a show cause notice for contempt of court to the Jail Superintendent.
Earlier, the court had on March five ordered execution of Rajoana, a Babbar Khalsa militant lodged in the Patiala Central Jail, on March 31.
Additional Advocate General Anoopinder Singh Grewal, who represented the Jail Superintendent, told mediapersons outside the court that the state would move the Punjab and Haryana Court against Tuesday's order.
The Jail Superintendent, who also talked to reporters, said "I will not hang him (Rajoana).I will not commit illegal murder." "Since the Punjab government had agreed to the arrangement for transfer of condemned prisoners of Union Territory Chandigarh to the Central Jail, it does not behoove the state of Punjab to refuse execution of warrants," the court said.
Raising a question of law, the Judge said "can the state of Punjab refuse to execute the sentence of life imprisonment awarded to those prisoners on the ground that it had no territorial jurisdiction?".
The transfer of condemned prisoner Balwant Singh was made on mutual basis from Model Jail, Burail, Chandigarh to Central Jail, Patiala, and the jail authorities are bound by the law to execute the orders of this (Chandigarh) court, the Judge said.
In the petition, the Jail Superintendent had submitted that the death warrant could not be executed as the petition of another convict, Lakhwinder Singh, in the Beant Singh case was pending before the Supreme Court.
CBI counsel R K Handa and Rajan Malhotra had contended that Jakhar had no locus standi to challenge the execution warrant issued by the court.
On this, Jakhar said there was a judgement of the Supreme Court in a similar case which bestowed on him legal rights to become a party in the Rajoana case.
The special CBI court had awarded death sentence to Rajoana and Jagtar Singh Hawara on August 1, 2007.
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 term.
With four days left for his scheduled hanging, Rajoana snubbed the ruling Akali leadership asking them not to save him from the gallows, claiming they were pushing for a pardon out of fear of losing support of Sikhs.
Punjab police and paramilitary forces conducted flag marches across the state apprehending violence if the execution of Rajoana convicted in the assassination of former Chief Minister Beant Singh is carried out.
Various Sikh organizations have given a bandh call in Punjab on Monday in view of the expected hanging of Rajoana who has neither challenged his conviction nor filed any mercy petition. As per a court order, he is scheduled to be hanged on March 31 in the Patiala Central Jail.
In his latest letter released to Sikhs from the Patiala Jail, Rajoana said, "I don't need any help from blue-turbaned Akali leaders, who have not done anything so far to secure justice for Sikhs. Akali leaders have started speaking up now as they fear that if they don't, they will lose their support." He also called the Akali leaders as "cheaters".
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal yesterday said his government would support the SGPC petition sent yesterday to President seeking conversion of Rajoana's death sentence to a life term. The SAD patron also said he would meet the President and the Prime Minister to seek their intervention in saving Rajoana from the gallows.
The Centre sought to steer clear of the Rajoana clemency issue, appearing unwilling to intervene with Law Minister Salman Khurshid saying neither it nor the state government "can do anything outside the system".
Asked about Akali Dal government's demand for clemency to Rajoana, Khurshid said, "I have also heard it but this is the system, and neither the state government nor the Centre can do anything outside the system that has been put in place. We will have to work according to this."
The copies of Rajoana's letter were distributed by his foster sister Kamaldeep Kaur outside the Central Jail.
Rajoana also wrote that Akali leaders failed to secure justice from Delhi for innocent Sikhs and should not now throw their turbans before Delhi to seek clemency for him.
Chandigarh: A Sessions court on Tuesday ordered that death row convict Balwant Singh Rajoana, convicted for his involvement in the 1995 assassination of former Chief Minister Beant Singh, be hanged as scheduled on March 31 as the Punjab government said it would challenge the order.
Dismissing the petition of Patiala Central Jail Superintendent L R Jakhar seeking deferment of the execution, the court here also returned the warrant of execution for compliance.
Don't plead to save me from gallows, Rajoana tells Akalis