The Centre today stayed the execution of Balwant Singh Rajoana,a convict in the assassination of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh,scheduled for March 31.
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal,who met President Pratibha Patil along with son and Deputy CM Sukhbir,told reporters that Rajoanas hanging had been stayed till the Supreme Court decides a pending case involving the Babbar Khalsa member.
It is learnt that the decision to stay the execution was taken after the Presidents Office forwarded a mercy petition by the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) for examination.
Once the President forwards a mercy petition to the Union Home Ministry,a message immediately goes out to the state government where the crime happened as well as the jail where the hanging is scheduled to put the hanging on hold.
SAD ally BJP has played it safe on the issue,with party leaders admitting they were in a Catch-22 situation. The party has always said that terrorists should not be granted mercy. No BJP leader accompanied the Badals to the Rashtrapati Bhavan today.