The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday dismissed the Chandigarh Police’s petition seeking custody of Jagtar Singh alias Tara, an assassin of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh and an escapee from Burail jail.
The decision came from the court headed by Justice Paramjeet Singh. The police had filed an appeal challenging the Chandigarh sessions court’s orders of dismissing their appeal seeking Tara’s custody in Burail jailbreak case.
During the hearing of the case, the court also took note of the facts that Tara was granted bail by the Chandigarh district court in Burail jailbreak case which has so far not been challenged by the Chandigarh Police. He is still inside Burail jail in the former Punjab CM’s assassination case. However, the detailed court order is yet to be released.
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Tara, a former member of Khalistan Tiger Force (terrorist outfit), was arrested in Thailand early this year for the first time after he escaped from Burail jail on the intervening night of January 21/22, 2004, after digging a tunnel. He was then extradited to India. He remained in the custody of the Punjab Police for nearly a month before he was sent to judicial custody in Burail jail.
Tara was produced in Chandigarh district court on February 17 and the duty magistrate had dismissed the UT Police’s application seeking his custody. The police then moved an appeal before the district court which was also dismissed on February 27.
The Chandigarh Police had submitted that there is a need for sustained interrogation of Tara to dig out truth on various points to find out the role of jail officials and others who helped them in executing their plan to dig out a tunnel and escape from the Burail jail. Also, it needs to be found as to who helped Tara in providing him shelter during his absconding period, and to know the whereabouts of Devi Singh who also escaped with Tara so that he could also be arrested.
The Chandigarh Police has also submitted that Tara’s custody is necessary to find out the motive of Tara and other convicts behind their escape from Burail jail, and after their escape whom they contacted in terrorist outfits and what their future planning is.