Updated: November 9, 2021 5:36:02 am
Almost 17 years after he had escaped from the high-security Burail Model Jail in Chandigarh by digging a tunnel, Jagtar Singh Tara, a convict in the assassination of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh, was held guilty by the Chandigarh district court on Monday.
Tara, who was arrested in 2015 after the escape in 2004, has been facing trial for the jailbreak at the Chandigarh district court. The matter came up for hearing on Monday for recording prosecution evidence before the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Dr Aman Inder Singh. However, Tara gave a statement confessing his guilt through his counsel Simranjit Singh.
As per court orders, Tara was explained the consequences of making such a plea. However, he remained adamant. After being satisfied that the plea of guilt admission by the accused is voluntary, the court held him guilty and convicted him under sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 224 (resistance or obstruction by a person to his lawful apprehension) of the IPC.
The CJM court held, “The convict is coming in custody in this case since February 17, 2015 (sic). He has already undergone the sentence more than the prescribed period for these offences. As such, the convict is ordered to be released from custody in this case. His custody period is treated as his full sentence for the offences and shall be considered to have run concurrently with any other sentence so undergoing.”
Tara is currently lodged in Burail Jail after he had been convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for assassination of former CM Beant Singh. Tara had earlier as well confessed his crime, and had submitted a letter to the court stating, “I have no regret for killing Beant Singh”.
As per the present case, the assassins of Beant Singh — Paramjeet Singh Bheora, Jagtar Singh Hawara and Jagtar Singh Tara — and Devi Singh, a murder convict in another case, escaped from cell no. 7 of Munda Khana barrack at the “high-security” jail on the night of January 21-22, 2004, after digging a 94-foot-long and 2.4-foot-wide tunnel. Bheora and Hawara were held guilty by the Chandigarh district court in 2015, while another accused in the matter Devi Singh is still absconding.
‘Decided to flee from the jail as was having no faith in system’
Tara, who was convicted by the court on Monday, stated that he had to adopt this path due to atrocities inflicted on the Sikhism, several innocent persons were killed in fake encounters and the culprits were not brought to justice. He had decided to flee from the jail as he was having no faith in the system and he decided to go out of jail in order to serve the Sikh community. Riots of 1984 have also affected his mind. Police took no action against the culprits of 1984 riots.
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