Five alleged Sikh militants accused of hijacking an Air India plane to Pakistan in 1981 and were deported back to India after serving life term faced the prospect of being declared proclaimed offenders by a Delhi court if they fail to appear before it on December 3.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sameer Bajpai ordered initiation of proceedings under section 82 of the Code of Criminal Proceedings to declare the five accused -- Tajender Pal Singh, Satnam Singh, Gajender Singh, Karan Singh Kini and Jasbir Singh Jima -- absconding.
Under section 82 of the CrPC if the court has a reason to believe that the accused is absconding or concealing himself, it orders the prosecution to publish notice about the accused or publicly announce or affix information about them near their house or public places for making them appear in court.
The judge said since the NBWs issued against them could not be executed at the addresses recorded in the police file, he was satisfied that a case has been made out under section 82 to initiate the process of declaring them absconding.
"NBWs against all accused persons remained unexecuted. After going through the report, I am satisfied that the accused persons have absconded. Process under section 82 CrPC (proclamation for person absconding) be issued against them for December 3," the magistrate said.
The accused, who were deported to India in 2000, had moved applications seeking discharge from the case registered in New Delhi but the court after refusing their plea continued with the criminal proceedings.
The court had issued non-bailable warrants against them which could not be executed as they remained untraceable.
The case against the five dates back to September 29, 1981 when they hijacked an Air India plane from New Delhi to Srinagar and forced it to land in Pakistan, where they were arrested and put on trial and sentenced to life imprisonment.