Sun, 25 Mar 2012 12:43:22 GMT

BJP steers clear of Rajoana row; Prison returns death warrant

Chandigarh, Mar 25 (PTI) The BJP today steered clear of the controversy surrounding death row convict Balwant Singh Rajoana saying the matter was sub judice even as the Patiala Central Jail returned his death warrant for the second time in less than a week.
"It is for the courts to decide and nobody has a right to to interfere," Punjab BJP chief Ashwani Sharma told reporters here.
He was responding to a question on what would be his party''s stand if its ally Shiromani Akali Dal decides to take steps to save Rajoana, a convict in former Chief Minister Beant Singh''s assassination, from gallows.
"The BJP''s stand on terrorism is very clear. We oppose it in any form. Moreover, this issue is for the courts to see and the law will take its course," he said.
The ruling SAD in Punjab is also treading cautiously on the matter with its patriarch and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal saying all possible legal steps would be initiated pertaining to Rajoana''s case.
"My government has been taking advice from legal experts. All possible legal steps will be initiated pertaining to Rajoana''s case," he had said.
The Sikh clergy has also directed him and SGPC head Avtar Singh Makkar to make efforts to avert the hanging of the condemned prisoner.
Patiala Jail Superintendent Lakhwinder Singh Jakhar had returned the warrant for execution of Rojana, a Babbar Khalsa terrorist, last evening.
In a missive to Additional Sessions Judge Shalini Singh Nagpal (Chandigarh), he said there were legal infirmities in the procedure followed and that the state of Punjab had no territorial jurisdiction in the matter.
Earlier this week also, the Patiala Jail Superintendent had returned the warrant of execution. .

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