Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will now take a final call on granting mercy to Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) terrorist Balwant Singh Rajoana and forward the recommendation to the President. While Rajoana has refused to plead for mercy, Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal has also not made an official request to the Centre for his clemency.
Rajaona, who assassinated then Punjab CM Beant Singh in 1995, was sentenced to death by a special CBI court. He did not move the SC against the order and is lodged in jail in Punjab.
In 2012, when a local court fixed the date for his hanging, CM Parkash Singh Badal and his son Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal had sought clemency for Rajoana. The President’s office forwarded the petition to the Home Ministry, which recently asked the Punjab government for its comments.
“The Punjab government has neither said yes or no for executing Rajoana. They are silent on the issue. They have put the onus on us and asked the Home Ministry to take a final decision,” a source said.
Similar mercy petitions were also filed by Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and the Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (DSGPC). Following the requests, the then UPA government had stayed the hanging.
“The Home minister will now take a final decision. It has become a tricky situation for the government as the state government, which was advocating for clemency for him refused to take an official stand on the matter,” said the official.
Singh, recently, asked the President of India to reject the mercy petition of five others including Nithari killer Surinder Koli. The petitions were rejected by the President last week.