Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday clarified that the death sentence of Babbar Khalsa terrorist Balwant Singh Rajoana, convicted for the assassination of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh, has not been commuted.
Shah made the announcement in the Lok Sabha while responding to Congress MP Ravneet Singh Bittu, Beant Singh’s grandson, during Question Hour.
Referring to Monday’s debate in both the Houses of Parliament, the Ludhiana MP asked the Home Minister “why did you commute the death sentence of Balwant Singh Rajoana?”.
Responding in Hindi, Shah said: “Please, don’t go by media reports. Koi maafi ki nahi gai (sentence has not been commuted).”
Amit Shah’s statement is in contrary to reports circulated last month that the Centre has commuted the death sentence of ex-Punjab CM Beant Singh killer to life term.
It was reported widely that the Centre’s orders have been conveyed to Punjab and Chandigarh administrations and that the Chandigarh administration will pursue the remission orders.
Balwant Singh Rajoana was sentenced to death in 2007. Rajoana, 52, who is currently lodged in Patiala Central Jail, is the prime accused in the case.
A former Punjab Police constable, Rajoana was sentenced to death on August 1, 2007, by a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Chandigarh and his execution was scheduled for March 31, 2012.
Meanwhile, the Home Ministry in September this year had approved the commutation of Rajoana’s death sentence to a life term as a humanitarian gesture ahead of the 550th birth anniversary of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev, a decision which was criticised by Beant Singh’s grandson Ravneet Singh Bittu.
Besides Rajoana, the Home Ministry had granted a special dispensation to eight other Sikh prisoners from various jails in the country on the occasion.
On March 28, 2012, the Home Ministry had stayed Rajoana’s execution following clemency appeals filed by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.
Beant Singh and 16 others were killed in an explosion outside the Civil Secretariat in Chandigarh on August 31, 1995.
Dilawar Singh, a Punjab Police officer, had acted as a suicide bomber to assassinate Beant Singh. Rajoana was the second bomber in case Dilawar Singh would have failed to kill the Congress leader.
Rajoana had cited the 1984 anti-Sikh riots as the reason behind the killing of Beant Singh.