CHANDIGARH: The 43-year old Jagtar Singh Tara was sentenced to life imprisonment till death today for assassination of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh some 23 years ago.
A special court of additional district and session judge J S Sidhu was held to pronounce his sentence at the high-security Burail Jail here. He was held guilty of murder, criminal conspiracy and explosives act. Besides giving him life imprisonment upto death a fine of Rs 35,000 has also been imposed. The CBI counsel had pleaded for death penalty.
Yesterday the court held Tara guilty of killing Singh in a bomb explosion on August 31, 1995.
As 15 people were accused of the assassination of the former chief minister six others who have been convicted in this case are, Jagtar Singh Hawara the master-mind in this case, he has filed an appeal against his sentence, Balwant Singh
Rajoona who has not filed any appeal, Gurmeet Singh who has got life imprisonment, Paramjeet Singh Bheora, Lakhwinder Singh who is also sentenced to life imprisonment and Shamsher Singh.
While the six others accused in the assassination are declared as proclaimed Offenders these are Wadhwa Singh Babbar, Mehal Singh Babbar and Jagroop Singh all of them in Pakistan, Harjeet Singh is in USA, Manjinder Singh in UK and Resham Singh is in Germany.
While another accused Navjot Singh was acquitted in 2007 and another convict Naseeb Singh was released after his ten year sentence was converted to period undergone and he was fined Rs 10,000.
In January this year, Tara submitted a six-page confessional statement in the court and had also he also given a detailed explanation for the assassination where he recorded his statements under Section 313 of the CrPC during the proceedings held at the Burail jail. He had admitted that he purchased the car which was used for assassination and that they all waited for the best opportunity to assassinate Singh.
He had earlier confessed to his involvement in the assassination of Beant Singh in 1995.
The then chief minister of Punjab Beant Singh was killed in an explosion outside the Civil Secretariat on August 31, 1995. Punjab Police personal Dilawar Singh had acted as a human bomb in the incident.
In February 2004, he had fled along with two other accused from the high-security Burail jail by digging a 104-feet tunnel and the same year in May he was declared a proclaimed offender. After 11 years in January 2015 he was arrested by Thailand and the trial in the case has been going on inside the Burail jail ever since.