Saturday, 24 March 2012

Punjab Cabinet Meet on Rajoana - Inconclusive

24th March 2012

Chandigarh: Punjab Cabinet on Saturday failed to reach a consensus on the issue of appealing to the President to pardon Balwant Singh Rajoana, who is to be hanged on March 31 for assassinating Beant Singh August 1, 2007.

The meet came after the Sikh high priests, who met in Amritsar yesterday, had directed the Chief Minister and the SGPC chief to meet President Pratibha Patil and make efforts to save Rajoana from the gallows.

Meawnwhile, SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal has called an emergency meeting of the party's core committee on Sunday in the wake of Sikh high priests directing the Chief Minister and the SGPC head to meet the President and make efforts to save Balwant Singh Rajoana from the gallows.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who is also SAD patron, and SGPC head Avtar Singh Makkar would also attend the meeting which will be held here tomorrow, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) secretary Daljit Singh Cheema said today.

Cheema said the core committee would deliberate upon the directive of Jathedar, Akal Takht pertaining to the case of Rajoana, a convict in the former chief minister Beant Singh's assassination.

The highest Sikh temporal body, the Akal Takht, had also directed SGPC president to meet the President and the Prime Minister to save Rajoana, who is scheduled to be hanged in Patiala central jail on March 31.

Additional District and Sessions Judge, Chandigarh, Shalini Nagpal had earlier this month issued a warrant of death sentence against the Babbar Khalsa terrorist.

A special CBI court had awarded death sentence to Rajoana and Jagtar Singh Hawara in the Beant Singh assassination case on August 1, 2007.

Three other accused -- 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 sentence.

Beant Singh was assassinated on August 31, 1995 in Chandigarh by militant outfit Babbar Khalsa.