Don’t execute my husband, Bhullar’s wife tells SC (Third Lead)

New Delhi, May 7 (IANS) Navneet Kaur, the wife of death row terror convict Devenderpal Singh Bhullar, Tuesday moved the Supreme Court for suspension of the execution of her jailed husband in the 1993 Delhi bomb blast that killed nine people.

The apex court bench of Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice Kurian Joseph declined to pass any order as senior counsel Ram Jethmalani mentioned the matter before it but agreed to consider the plea later.

Jethmalani told the court that preparations were being made to hang Bhullar like the Mumbai attack convict and Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab and parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.

Bhullar was given capital punishment and sent to Tihar Jail for the 1993 blast at the Indian Youth Congress office, a stone’s throw from the parliament building in Delhi, which left nine dead. The attack was allegedly targeted at Youth Congress leader M.S. Bitta, who escaped with injuries.

Kaur sought a review of the apex court’s April 12 order dismissing her husband’s plea for quashing the rejection of his mercy petition by the president. The convict’s mercy plea sought commutation of his death sentence to life imprisonment.

She contended that the rejection of the mercy petition by the president after a gap of over eight years was based on “lack of application of mind, non-consideration of relevant circumstances and presumably made on extraneous grounds and/on irrelevant facts”.

Bhullar filed the mercy petition Jan 14, 2003 which was rejected by the president May 25.

Kaur said when in 2005 and 2011 Bhullar’s mercy plea was sent to the president it was not disclosed that the apex court’s Justice M.B. Shah (since retired) in his minority judgment in 2002 had acquitted Bhullar.

Justice Shah had said that there was no evidence against Bhullar and it was “unsafe to solely rely upon the alleged confession recorded by the investigating officer”, she said.

While Justice Shah acquitted Bhullar, his two colleagues on the bench Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice B.N. Agrawal (both since retired) dismissed his appeal against the award of death sentence by the trial court.

Justice Shah noted that “…when the rest of the accused who are named in the confessional statement are not convicted or tried, this would not be a fit case for convicting the appellant solely on the basis of the so-called confessional statement recorded by the police officer…”, Kaur said.

She said Justice Shah also cast doubts over the manner in which the confessional statement was recorded.

The petition also referred to the poor health condition of Bhullar.

The death penalty judgment against Bhullar “seeks to send to gallows a severely mentally ill man who is experiencing intense mental suffering from inter alia, acute psychosis, hallucination, delusion, suicidal tendencies and who has lost all sense of reality”, the petition said.

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