Chandigarh, November 12: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Tuesday announced the commutation of the death sentence of Balwant Singh Rajoana, a former operative of the Babbar Khalsa terrorist group. The 52-year-old was slapped in 2007 with capital punishment for his role in the murder of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh. Punjab Police Busts Terror Module of Khalistan Zindabad Force, Says Group Was Planning Spree of Insurgent Attacks.
The Home Ministry has sent a note the Punjab Chief Minister's Office and the Chattisgarh Union Territory administration, directing the conversion of Singh's death penalty into lifetime imprisonment. The Chhattisgarh administration will have to pursue the remission orders, the MHA said.
The decision to commute the death penalty of Rajaona comes days after Punjab government sources confirmed receiving a communication by the Jails Department. The note forwarded to the Chief Minister's Office has approved the release of TADA sikh prisoners who have served between 18 to 28 years in prison.
Update by ANI on Rajaona Case:
Union Ministry of Home Affairs has commuted death sentence of Balwant Singh Rajoana, who was sentenced to death in 2007 for assassination of former Punjab CM Beant Singh.Orders conveyed to Punjab and Chandigarh administrations. Chandigarh administration to pursue remission orders pic.twitter.com/RZhvWHzjYj
— ANI (@ANI) November 12, 2019
Rajaona was charged as the key conspirator in the murder of Beant Singh on August 31, 1995. Arrested shortly after the then Chief Minister's assassination, Rajaona confessed to his crime in 1997.
A former police officer of Punjab, Rajaona was radicalised during the Khalistan insurgency movement and turned into a militant. After his conviction in 2007, Rajaona said he would not seek mercy "even in distant dreams", as he accused the institutions of justice of turning a blind eye to the victims of 1984 anti-Sikh riots.