Chandigarh: Balwant Singh Rajoana, the Babbar Khalsa International terrorist who has been sentenced to death for his role in the assassination of then Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh in 1995, should be hanged as scheduled on March 31, a Chandigarh Court ruled on Tuesday.

However the Punjab government has decided to challenge the Court’s verdict.

Here is a time-line of the case:

August 31, 1995: Then Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh was assassinated in a suicide bomb attack when he was stepping out of his office in high-security state secretariat. The explosion claimed the lives of 17 people.

September 5, 1995: Co-accused Lakhwinder Singh and Gurmeet Singh were arrested

September 12, 1995: Another accused Jagtar Singh also held

December, 1995:  Balwant Singh arrested

February 19, 1996: Chandigarh district court issued a challan against 12 accused and three absconders in the connection with the case.

April 30, 1996: Chandigarh district court framed charges against 11 accused including Balwant Singh Rajaona, Gurmeet Singh, Nasib Singh, Lakhwinder Singh, Navjot Singh, Jagtar Singh, Shamsher Singh and Paramjeet Singh.

August 1, 1996: Chandigarh Court sentenced death penalty against Balwant Singh Rajaona and Jagtar Singh Hawara. Lakhwinder Singh, Gurmeet Singh and Shamsher Singh were awarded life imprisonment.
October 1, 2010: Rajoana said before the Chandigarh High Court that he would not appeal against his death sentence and he should be hanged immediately.
October 12, 2010: Chandigarh High Court commuted death punishment of Hawara to life imprisonment while Rajoana himself did not file mercy or review petition to challenge death punishment sentenced against him.

March 5, 2012: District Court ruled that Balwant Singh to be hanged on March 31. 

March 19, 2012: Patiala Jail administration returned the death warrant citing legal and jurisdiction issues, but the court again sent death warrant as a ruling of High Court

March 26, 2012: Additional advocate General of Punjab and CBI counsel exchanged arguments over the death warrant issued against Balwant Singh in the Court.

March 27, 2012: District Court maintained that Balwant Singh should be hanged on scheduled date, March 31, and issued showcause notice for contempt of court to the Patiala Jail Superintendent for returning death warrant earlier.