A local court on Thursday acquitted Rattandeep Singh, who was the chief of Bhindranwale Tiger Force of Khalistan (BTFK), in a bomb blast case that took place outside the old passport office in Sector 34 on June 30, 1999. The defense counsel, advocate Balbir Singh Sewak, said: “The prosecution had not recorded the statement made before the judicial officer under Section 164 of the CrPC in proper format due to which he was acquitted.”
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Rattandeep was arrested by the Punjab police in September 2014 from Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, 15 years after he escaped from the custody of Haryana police.
The court sentenced to 10-year imprisonment to other two accused in the 1999 bomb blast case — Gurbax Singh and Sher Singh. They were sentenced on Janaury 21, 2002 at district courts in Chandigarh.
During the trial this year, Rattandeep Singh was not produced by the Punjab police for five consecutive hearings including February 11, February 29, March 16, March 31, 2016 and April 19. Rattandeep was hesitant to travel from Nabha high security jail citing threats. The Nabha jail superintendent had written to the trial court stating that Rattandeep has written to the jail that he wanted to be taken to the court alone and not in company of other accused.
Rattandeep was facing trial under various Sections of IPC and Explosives Act in various district courts across Punjab and Haryana. Out of the eight cases in which he was facing trial, he was acquitted in five cases and discharged by the court in one. The trial is pending in remaining two cases.
Rattandeep told the Chandigarh Newsline that he was relieved after the verdict. When questioned on the accessibility to internet in the jail, he said: “I will not like to comment on whether there is accessibility to internet in the jail.”