1981 AI plane hijack: Two move court for stay of fresh trial

The two in their plea has said the court had taken cognisance of the FIR, which is under the consideration of the high court as well.

New Delhi: Two alleged Sikh militants, sent back to India in 2000 after serving a life term in Pakistan for hijacking an Air India plane to that country in 1981, have moved a Delhi court seeking stay of a fresh trial against them here for the same offence.

The two, in their plea to Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sameer Bajpai has said the trial in the case be stayed as the matter is pending before the Delhi High Court, which on April 8 will decide their plea for quashing the FIR.

Tejinder Pal Singh and Satnam Singh had approached the Delhi High Court in November for quashing of the FIR against them and also the trial court`s August 30 order, which took cognisance of the supplementary charge sheet.

The court fixed January 22, 2013 to take up their pleas.

"At this stage, an application for stay of proceedings against the two accused Tejinder and Satnam has been moved. Put up for consideration on January 22," the court said.

After the two along with Gajender Singh, Karan Singh Kini and Jasbir Singh Jima, who are also facing trial in the case, failed to appear before the court on issuance of non-bailable warrants, the court had ordered initiation of proceedings under section 82 of the Code of Criminal Proceedings (CrPC) to declare the five as proclaimed offender.

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 case against the five dates back to September 29, 1981 when they had allegedly 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.

The two in their plea has said the court had taken cognisance of the FIR, which is under the consideration of the high court as well.

"It would be expedient in the interest of justice to postpone the case till the next date of hearing before the high court or till the matter is finally decided by the high court," they said.

They added they are not trying to run away from justice and the same is evident from the fact that they have approached the high court and they themselves had moved the trial court earlier for their discharge from the case.

The NBWs against the five accused were issued by the court in pursuance of a sessions court order for their fresh trial here in the same hijacking case of 1981 but for different offences arising out of it.

The warrants were issued after the court had taken cognisance of the Delhi police charge sheet, which was filed against the five in 2011 on the sessions court`s order.

The Delhi Police has filed charges under sections 121 (waging war against Government of India), 121A (conspiring to commit certain offences against the state), 124A (sedition) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code against the five.

The accused, who were deported to India in 2000, had moved applications seeking discharge from the case registered here but the court had launched the criminal proceedings, dismissing their pleas.