Babbar Khalsa chief to stay in jail, four others to be set free
Five members of group plead guilty, court sentences them to 7-year prison term they have already served
Jagtar Singh Hawara, the chief of banned outfit Babbar Khalsa International, and four others pleaded guilty on Thursday in a Delhi court in three cases related to their alleged roles in the twin blasts at Satyam and Liberty cinema halls on May 22, 2005.
Additional Sessions Judge Rakesh Siddhartha accepted their pleas and sentenced Hawara, Balwinder Singh, Jaspal Singh, Vikas Sehgal and Jagannath Yadav to jail term already undergone by them during adjudication of the twin blast case.
The four others, barring Hawara, who have already spent over seven years in jail, would be released on payment of Rs 25,000 as fine.
Hawara was charged only for harbouring Jaspal and Vikas, who were actively involved in executing the blasts, in which a man died and 60 people were wounded.
But he is currently serving a life term for assassinating former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh. He is also facing trial in another case and cannot be released.
After the blasts during the screening of the controversial Hindi film, Jo Bole So Nihaal, the police registered two FIRs, naming 11 accused. They lodged another FIR a few days later, adding Hawara as co-accused.
The five men pleaded guilty of conspiracy to commit offences against the state, attempt to murder and culpable homicide not amounting to murder under the Indian Penal Code, the Explosives Substance Act and under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The court allowed the charge of murder under Section 302 of IPC to be changed to Section 304 (culpable homicide) after the defence counsel, Maninder Singh and S K Chaubey, appealed for leniency. They said the intention of the outfit's members was to trigger panic and force cinema halls to stop screening the controversial movie, not kill people.
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