SUBJECT : SEEKING REVIEW OF MERCY PETITON OF DEVINDER
PAL SINGH BHULLAR, REJECTED BY YOUR OFFICE ON
25TH MAY 2011.
Devender Pal Singh Bhullar was sentenced to DEATH by the designated court of Delhi on 25th Aug 2001 and is at present 47 years. After completing his Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from Guru Nanak engineering College Ludhiana, in 1990, Bhullar started teaching in the same college and taught for more than a year. He belonged to a well settled educated family and his father was Section Officer in Punjab Audit Department and his mother was working as Supervisor in Rural Development Department of Punjab.
On 29th Aug 1991 an incident took place in the city of Chandigarh, where an attempt was made to kill the then SSP of the city, Sumedh Singh Saini and his car was hit by a remote controlled explosion and some of his security guards were killed. The Chandigarh police suspected that Devender Pal Singh Bhullar and his friends were behind the attack. When they could not find Devender Pal Singh, they abducted his father and his maternal uncle in December 1991 and they were tortured to death in police custody.( The CBI has now in the year 2008 registered a case against Sumedh Singh Saini IPS and his associate police officers for this crime on the orders of the Hon’ble Punjab & Haryana High Court, Chandigarh).The whole family of his was harassed by the police. An Engineer friend of Bhullar namely Balwant Singh Multani, whose father Darshan Singh Multani was a serving Indian administrative Service officer of Punjab was also abducted during the same time and detained in Chandigarh police custody by Sumedh Singh Saini, the said IPS officer and was also tortured to death( Punjab police made a story of his escape from police custody in Punjab, however the said theory has been disbelieved by the CBI in its enquiry on the basis of which CBI has registered a case under Section 364 of Indian penal Code ie. “Kidnapping or Abducting in order to murder” and other relevant offences).
On 10th Sept 1993 an incident took place in Delhi, where the car cavalcade of the then president of youth congress namely Maninderjit Singh Bitta was attacked by a remote controlled blast in which 9 security men got killed.
The police of Chandigarh and Punjab were already looking for Devender Pal Singh Bhullar due to the Chandigarh blast incident and the police thought that the Delhi incident also had the same pattern of blast and so the Delhi police also starting looking for Bhullar.
Devender Pal Singh Bhullar although innocent, but fearing elimination by the police through Torture or Fake encounter with the police in order to save his life, under a fictitious name decided to go to Canada and while he was in transit at Frankfurt airport of Germany, was taken in custody on the basis of suspicion and after remaining in custody with German authorities for 1 month was ordered to be deported to India. Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar was handed over to the Indian Authorities at Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi on 19.1.1995.
Upon reaching India, he was arrested and charged with carrying forged passport and false documents punishable under sections 419, 420, 468 and 471 of IPC and section 12 of Passport Act. During the police remand he was denied access to his Lawyer or relatives and he under duress was forced to make a confession before DCP, Delhi, on the basis of which he was booked in the case relating to a car bomb blast which took place in New Delhi in 1993, relating to the attempt to assassinate Mr Maninderjit Singh Bitta, the then President of All India Youth Congress(I). Although Bitta escaped with minor injuries, some of his guards and associates died. It was alleged that the act was committed by four persons who were named as accused in the case. Besides, Bhullar, Daya Singh Lahoria and two other persons were named in the case. Bhullar was convicted on the sole basis of his confession before the police, which was admissible as evidence under the special Law ie. Terrorist & Disruptive Activities Prevention Act, where as his co-accused who was also tried along with him ie. Daya Singh Lahoria was acquitted by the trial Court for lack of evidence, as the said confessional statement could not be read against him, since he was extradited from U.S and the U.S authorities at the time of his extradition had obtained an undertaking from the Indian authorities that Daya Singh would not be tried under the TADA, special Law. So since in offences tried under the Indian Penal Code, the confession statements made before the police officers are not admissible as evidence, Daya Singh Lahoria was acquitted on the same charges, in the same trial, where as Devender Pal Singh Bhullar was convicted.
Mr. Bhullar was tried by the designated court-I, Delhi, under TADA (Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act). He faced the trial for six years. He was sentenced to Death by the Designated judge, Delhi on 25 Aug 2001, simply on the basis of his alleged confession recorded by a Deputy Police Commissioner during the police remand, which was recanted by Bhullar at the very first opportunity as that was obtained by coercion and torture. The prosecution miserably failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt and failed to produce any reliable witnesses. There was no eye-witness in the case, nor did anybody identify Devender Pal Singh as the person who planted the bomb in the car. Simply the police officials who recorded the confession were produced by the prosecution and the trial court convicted the accused purely on the basis of that confession.
It is essential to mention over here that in the case relating to the Bomb blast in which Sumedh Singh Saini IPS officer of Punjab, who was in 1991 on deputation as SSP Chandigarh, Devender Pal Singh Bhullar was acquitted of his charges by the Designate court of Chandigarh on 1st Dec 2006, as the prosecution could not produce any evidence worthwhile for convicting Bhullar.
By convicting Devender Pal Singh Bhullar and awarding Death Sentence on the basis of the said confession, the trial court as well as Supreme Court not only committed a grave error of law, but also diverted itself from the usual practice and procedure laid down in other judgments under TADA. The confirmation of capital punishment upon Devender Pal Singh Bhullar and subsequent dismissal of his review petition by the Supreme Court vide the judgment dated 22.3.2002 and 19.12.2002, by a three judge bench of the Supreme Court of India, comprising, Mr.Justice M.B.Shah, Mr.Justice B.N. Aggarwal and Justice Arijit Pasayat in a case under TADA and there after dismissal of the review petition as well as curative petition by the same bench is grave injustice.
After Dismissal of his curative petition on 19th Dec 2002, the mercy petition of Bhullar was pending with the President of India since 14th Jan 2003. More than 8 years & 4 months have passed and Devender pal Singh Bhullar’s mercy petition was still lying undecided. Bhullar has faced slow death each day. As per the Doctors reports he is suffering from Depression since 6 Years, Hypertension since 8 Years and Arthritis and Cervical since 6 years. Out of the total 24 Hours of a day he spends almost 22 hours in his 7 x 9 feet cell, suffering a slow death as a condemned prisoner in the special cell No- 2 of Tihar jail No - 3 , New Delhi since 25th Aug 2001,i.e. date of his conviction.
Since January 2011, Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar is admitted in Mental Hospital at New Delhi and is in acute depression, so a writ petition was filed in the Hon’ble Supreme court of India, seeking conversion of his Death Penalty into life imprisonment, in which notice was issued to Union Of India, which in a hasty manner without going into the fresh grounds of his mental state ,which was befitting enough to convince the Hon’ble President of India to convert the Death sentence into Life imprisonment or order his release, rejected his mercy petition on 25th May 2011. The President of India has not been made aware of the mental state of Devinder pal Singh Bhullar and it would be inhumane to order hanging of a individual who has suffered 16 year’s incarceration, out of which 10 years are in solitary confinement, locked in a cell for 22 hours of the day and allowed to move in a limited space for 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour in the afternoon and is at present a mental wreck.
We request you to review your decision and to save the life of Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar.
DATED : 30TH MAY 2011
NAVKIRAN SINGH ADVOCATE
Lawyers For Human Rights International