Ex-Dal Khalsa duo set free in ’81 Lahore hijacking case
Charges of waging war against India not proved: court
A Delhi court has acquitted two members of the erstwhile Dal Khalsa in a case of hijacking of a Delhi-Srinagar Indian Airlines flight to Lahore in 1981. Five persons were accused in the case; three have been declared absconders.
According to statements by four of the six crew members which became the basis for initiating prosecution, while hijacking the plane with 111 passengers on board, the accused raised pro-Khalistan slogans, such as “Khalistan Zindabad; Bhindranwale Amar Rahe; Khalistan Lekar Rahenge”.
Additional Sessions Judge Ajay Pandey acquitted Tejinder Pal Singh and Satnam Singh as the prosecution failed to prove the allegations of waging war against the Government of India against them.
Prosecution in the case was initiated on the basis of discharge applications filed by the accused when they arrived in India after having served life terms in Pakistan after their trial and conviction for the hijacking.
Tejinder Pal Singh and Satnam Singh returned to India in 1997 and 1999 respectively and filed discharge applications in a court here, submitting they were protected from being tried again under the double jeopardy procedure as they could not be tried second time for the same offence on the same facts.
The court discharged Satnam saying that “trial of accused Satnam Singh in India would be hit by double jeopardy, because he had already been convicted for the incidence by the competent court of Pakistan.”
However, the court ordered an inquiry on the application of the second accused, which he filed in 2000, a year after Satnam’s plea, on the ground that the Pakistan court had not framed sedition charges the two accused. The Delhi Police charged them with sedition after the State government sanctioned their prosecution.
The prosecution sought their conviction arguing that in their discharge applications, the accused persons had admitted their offences. However, the Judge dismissed this plea.
“In the case in hand, accused persons were not identified by any witness ( two crew members) produced by the prosecution to have done any such act of waging or attempting or abetting to wage war against Government of India,” the 79-page judgement said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by Daily Report and is published from a The Hindu.)
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