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Beant Singh case: Sentencing on Monday
July 28, 2007 21:09 IST
A special court in Chandigarh, which was to announce the quantum of punishment to six convicts in the 1995 assassination case of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh [Images], deferred it to Monday when the defence lawyers asked for more time as they were allegedly manhandled by the police and jail authorities.
The defence counsels said they "were not in a sound frame of mind to put up their case before the special court".
The lawyers A S Chahal, Arvind Thakur and Gurdial Singh alleged they were "frisked indecently and manhandled".
Emerging out of the jail complex, CBI counsel S K Saxena told reporters that the quantum of sentence for the six convicts, which was to be pronounced by Additional Sessions Judge R K Sondhi would now be delivered on Monday at 11:30 AM.
Jagtar Singh Hawara [Images], Balwant Singh, Shamsher Singh, Lakhwinder Singh and Gurmeet Singh were convicted under Sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder) and 120 (b) (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC while Naseeb Singh was held guilty under the Explosives Substances Act by the court.
The CBI counsel said that one of the accused in the case, Navjot Singh, who was acquitted, had been taken to Delhi in connection with another case registered against him.
A warrant issued by a Delhi court on November 9, 1995 is still pending against him, in which he is accused, along with four others, of joining Babbar Khalsa International after the 1984 riots.
The CBI counsel said that barring Naseeb Singh, they had sought capital punishment for all the five accused in the assassination case of Beant Singh, the then chief minister in the Congress-ruled Punjab, who was killed along with 17 others, including human bomb Dilawar Singh, near Punjab Secretariat on August 31, 1995.
"Our argument is that they attacked the seat of power, the Civil Secretariat and of course, the then chief minister and others who died. Like in the Parliament attack case, where Afzal Guru got death sentence, our contention is that they too carried out a pre-planned and cold-blooded attack.
Therefore, they should be awarded capital punishment," Saxena said.