New Delhi: In a crucial judgement, the Supreme Court on Friday rejected Devinderpal Singh Bhullar's petition for commuting his capital punishment to life imprisonment on grounds of the delay by the President in deciding his mercy plea.

Bhullar, an ideologue of Khalistan Liberation Force, was awarded death penalty for triggering a bomb blast in September 1993, killing nine people and injuring 25 others, including then Youth Congress president M S Bitta.

A graduate in electrical engineering from Ludhiana's Guru Nanak Engineering College, Bhullar has been on death row for almost a decade now.

Bhullar's involvement was also suspected in other well-planned bomb blasts, including the attack on the then SSP, Chandigarh, Sumedh Singh Saini in 1991.

After carrying out the blast, Bhullar fled to Germany in 1994 using a fake passport. He had reportedly applied for political asylum in Germany. His asylum plea was rejected by the German government in 1995 and he was deported from Germany to India to face charges of terrorism.

Bhullar had accused Delhi Police team of forcing him to claim responsibility for the attack in Delhi and sign a confession.

In his confession, Bhullar claimed that the Punjab Police had killed his best friends and fellow militants of the Khalistan Liberation Force. He also held the police responsible for the disappearance of his father in 1991.

Bhullar was awarded death sentence by the Delhi High Court in 2001.

The Apex Court had on March 26, 2002, dismissed Bhullar's appeal against the death sentence awarded by a trial court in August 2001 and endorsed by the Delhi High Court in 2002.

One of the three judges at the Supreme Court submitted a dissenting opinion, pleading for an acquittal, citing a lack of corroborative evidence for Bhullar’s confession.

He had filed a review petition which was also dismissed on December 17, 2002. Bhullar had then moved a curative petition which too had been rejected by the apex court on March 12, 2003.

Bhullar, meanwhile, had filed a mercy petition before the President on January 15, 2003. The President, after a lapse of over eight years, dismissed his mercy plea on May 25, 2011.

In 2011, Bhullar was reportedly shifted to a government-run mental hospital in New Delhi for medical aid. He was stated to be in depression and showed suicidal tendencies.


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