The Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) terrorist Lakhwinder Singh Lakha who has been serving life imprisonment since 1995 was granted bail on May 9 by a local court. Lakha was convicted in the assassination case of former Chief Minister Beant Singh.
The order came after the Punjab and Haryana high court directed to release all prisoners on regular bail who have completed their life sentence but a decision regarding their permanent release from jails is pending, said an official as quoted by the Hindustan Times.
In September 2022, the Supreme Court issued an order stating all persons who have completed 10 years of sentence, and whose appeals were not to be heard in the near future, should be released on bail, unless there are other reasons to deny them bail.
The court of chief judicial magistrate Aman Inder Singh Sandhu granted bail on two sureties of Rs 2 lacks each. Lakha’s sister Sukhwinder Kaur had filed a plea for the acceptance of bail bonds on behalf of the accused through advocate Jaspal Singh. Lakha was released on bail from Model Jail, Burail, Chandigarh.
Beant Singh was assassinated on August 31, 1995, by suicide bomber Dilawar Singh. Lakha was a driver in the Punjab Police and was posted at the civil secretariat, Chandigarh when the assassination occurred. Under the plan of eliminating Beant Singh, he was assigned to do a recce of the civil administration.
Beant Singh was the Congress leader who was the Chief Minister of Punjab from 1992 to 1995. Dilawar Singh Babbar of Babbar Khalsa International acted as the suicide bomber; later, the backup bomber Balwant Singh Rajoana was also convicted of the killing.
In 2012, a Chandigarh court sentenced Rajoana to death. A number of Sikhs protested against the decision and campaigned to stop the execution of Balwant Singh Rajoana. On 28 March 2012, the Government Of India stayed the execution of Rajoana after Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal met President Pratibha Patil seeking clemency for him.
Notably, last week, The Supreme Court declined to commute the death penalty of Balwant Singh Rajoana, who was convicted in the 1995 assassination case of then Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh, to life imprisonment.
The accused Balwant Singh Rajoana has been in jail for the past 26 years.
On 7 January 2015, Jagtar Singh alias Tara who is alleged to be the mastermind in the assassination of Singh was arrested by Thai Police in Bangkok after a request by the Indian investigative agency (Central Bureau of Investigation).
In January 2018, Accused Jagtar Singh Tara confessed to having assassinated former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh during the hearing in the case and said he had no regrets for his actions. Besides admitting to the crime, he also gave a detailed explanation for the assassination.
“Beant Singh after coming to power did not punish the culprits. After so many human rights violations by the officers and the police officials, Beant Singh rewarded these officers by giving promotions and further recommended their names for the President Award,” the statement said.