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Explained: Over a decade after Sikh Sangat leader’s murder, why are authorities struggling to bring guilty to book

What is the Rulda Singh murder case? What led to India’s request for extradition falling flat in the UK court?

Written by Navjeevan Gopal | Chandigarh |
Updated: October 13, 2021 2:49:04 pm
Jagtar Singh Tara and R S Goldy are the two accused who are currently facing trial in the case.

In a blow to Punjab Police and the Union government, which has been seeking extradition of three accused in 2009 Rashtriya Sikh Sangat (RSS) chief Rulda Singh murder case from the United Kingdom, the Crown Prosecution Service on Wednesday dropped charges against three British nationals Piara Singh Gill, Amritivir Singh Wahiwala and Gursharanvir Singh Wahiwala.

In February 2016, Portugal had turned down India’s request to extradite Paramjeet Singh Pamma (43) who was also wanted for allegedly plotting Rulda Singh’s murder. A UK asylee, Pamma, was on a vacation to Portugal when detained and India made an unsuccessful attempt for his extradition. Five other accused in the same case were acquitted by a Patiala court in 2015 and two others are currently face trial in India.

What is the Rulda Singh murder case?

Rashtriya Sikh Sangat leader Rulda Singh was shot at by “two to three unidentified men on the night of July 28, 2009 in Patiala as he was entering his house in Scorpio vehicle he was driving”. As per defence counsel in the case, Birinder Singh Dhillon, the FIR read that “two to three unidentified men who were clean shaven attacked Rulda Singh”. Rulda Singh was first rushed to Rajindra Hospital in Patiala and from there was referred to PGI Chandigarh where he died in August 2009. Five accused in the case namely Jagmohan Singh, Darshan Singh, Gurjant Singh, Amarjit and Daljit Singh were acquitted by the trial court of Additional Sessions Judge Patiala n February 2015.

What led to India’s request for extradition falling flat in the UK court?

As per Sodhi, the Patiala-based lawyer who assisted defence lawyer in UK against the extradition of the three, the prosecutors in UK did not inform the court there that five other accused had been acquitted in the case.

What is the status of Rulda Singh murder case and what was the alleged role of 3 UK nationals?

Jagtar Singh Tara and R S Goldy are the two accused who are currently facing trial in the case.

“As per Punjab Police, Gursharanvir came to India by using passport of Amritvir Singh on July 22, 2009. Piara Singh also accompanied him as they landed at Mumbai airport and both were allegedly received by Jagmohan Singh in Sirhind on the directions of Paramjit Pamma,” Sodhi said, adding that as per then ADGP (Intelligence) later they took a flight back to UK on August 3, 2009. As per a dossier prepared by the Punjab Police, Gursharanvir came to India in July 2009 for murder of Rulda Singh. He was arrested by West Midlands police on July 13, 2010 for involvement in Rulda Singh murder case, but later on was let off, as per the Punjab Police dossier.

What happened when India tried to extradite Pamma from Portugal?

A team of Punjab Police went Portugal early 2016 and submitted documents for the extradition request. The alleged Khalistani terrorist was held from a hotel in Algarve by Foreigners and Borders Service in Portugal following a red corner notice against him by the Interpol. He was arrested on December 18, 2015, when he was reportedly on a vacation with his family.
Pamma (43) is wanted for allegedly plotting the murder of Rulda Singh in 2009. He is also wanted in bomb blasts cases in Patiala and Ambala in 2010 in which he was an alleged conspirator. Portugal, however, turned down India’s request for his extradition and he eventually went back to UK where he lived as a refugee.

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What is Rashtriya Sikh Sangat (RSS) and why radical Sikhs are opposed to it?

Rashtriya Sikh Sangat is an arm of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. Amritsar-based Dal Khalsa spokesperson Kanwarpal Singh minces no words to describe Rashtriya Sikh Sangat as “an illegitimate son of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh” aimed at “assimilating Sikhs into Hindu fold”. Kanwarpal adds, “Sikhs are proud of their distinct identity. Rashtriya Sikh Sangat was instituted in 1990s and BJP while being in alliance with SAD tried to spread its tentacles in Punjab.”

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