New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday slammed the Centre and the Punjab government for politicising and delaying the execution of Balwant Singh Rajoana, convicted in the assassination of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh.
In its observation, the apex court said that a high ‘drama’ was being played in Rajoana’s case and clemency was being sought for someone who had assassinated the former chief minister of Punjab.
The apex court made its observation public a day after Centre stayed Rajoana’s scheduled execution on March 31.
The Centre stayed his hanging after Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal met President Pratibha Patil yesterday seeking clemency for Rajoana.
Confirming the development, Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said that he had received a letter from the Home Ministry staying the execution till the time Rajoana`s petition isn`t dismissed by the Supreme Court.
The Rajoana’s case had triggered a political whirlwind in Punjab with the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) pleading for clemency, while the BJP and the Congress maintaining that law should take its course.
Several Sikh organizations yesterday called for a day-long general strike in Punjab to protest against Rajoana`s hanging.
The special CBI court had awarded the death sentence to Rajoana and Jagtar Singh Hawara in the Beant Singh case on August one, 2007. Three others - Lakhwinder Singh, Gurmit Singh and Shamsher Singh - were sentenced to life imprisonment for hatching the conspiracy to kill Beant Singh.
The Chandigarh court had issued the death warrant to the Patiala jail authorities, asking them to hang Rajoana on March 31. Rajoana did not appeal against the judgement. The death penalty of Hawara, who filed an appeal against it, was commuted to life term.