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37 yrs after IA plane hijacking to Lahore, court verdict today

New Delhi, August 27: Thirty-seven years after a New Delhi-to-Srinagar  Indian Airlines plane with 111 passengers and six crew members on board was hijacked to Lahore, a Delhi court is likely to pronounce its verdict in the case on Monday.

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Two of the five Sikh hijackers have been tried on charges of waging war against the state.

Additional Sessions Judge Ajay Pandey will decide the fate of Satnam Singh and Tejinder Pal Singh, who have already served life term in Pakistan. Satnam — who was 30 at the time of the offence — has turned 67, while Tejinderpal is a year younger.

Granted bail on July 20, 2017, the two have been asked to remain present in court.

After serving their sentence in Pakistan, Tejinder Pal and Satnam had moved to Canada and the US, respectively, and were deported to India in 1998 and 1999 in connection with the September 29, 1981, incident.

The other three alleged hijackers — Gajinder Singh, Jasbir Singh and Karan Singh — are not in India.

Belonging to Dal Khalsa, the hijackers had demanded the release of Sikh preacher Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, who was arrested on September 20, 1981, in a murder case.

The lawyer for the accused, Harpreet Singh Hora, said, “We expect the judge to throw out the case. The evidence does not stand the rigours of IPC, CrPC, the Constitution and Supreme Court rulings.”

Calling it a “classic example of double jeopardy”, the accused duo submitted that since they had already served life term in Pakistan, they can’t be tried again in India.

However, the prosecution contended that the offences for which they were convicted in Pakistan were different from the ones mentioned in the Delhi court chargesheet.

The Delhi Police had filed a supplementary chargesheet in 2011 under charges of sedition and waging war against the state. In 2017, the High Court refused to quash the supplementary chargesheet against the accused and asked them to face trial.

However, the trial court dropped the sedition charges in May this year.

Source Tribune India

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