Court issues warrants against 5 men for 1981 plane hijack

A Delhi court has issued non-bailable warrants against five alleged Sikh militants, who were deported to India in 2000 after serving a life term in Pakistan for hijacking an Air India plane to that country in 1981.

Additional chief metropolitan magistrate Sameer Bajpai issued non-bailable warrants against the five, following a sessions court order that had earlier directed their fresh trial in the same case, but for different offences related to the hijacking.

Justice Bajpai issued the warrants taking cognisance of a Delhi Police chargesheet filed against the five persons in 2011 on the sessions court’s earlier order.

“In my opinion, there is sufficient material to proceed against the accused. I take cognisance of the offences under Sections 121 (waging war against India), 121A (conspiring to commit certain offences against the state), 124A (sedition) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC,” said the court.

The five persons against whom the non-bailable warrants were issued are Tejender Pal Singh, Satnam Singh, Gajender Singh, Karan Singh Kini and Jasbir Singh Jima.

The court ordered police to execute the warrants by October 15. The case against the five dates back to September 29, 1981 when they hijacked an Air India flight from New Delhi to Srinagar and forced it to land in Pakistan, where they were arrested and put on trial and sentenced to life.

After serving their terms, they were deported to India in 2000. Then one of them, Satnam Singh, moved court here for his discharge from the case registered in connection with the hijacking.

He was even discharged by another sessions court, which had said that he cannot be put on trial for the same offence twice as per the legal doctrine of double jeopardy, which prohibits double punishment for the same offence.

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