Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit Sunday stopped short of denying that former home minister Shivraj Patil had asked her government to delay a decision on parliament attack convict Afzal Guru’s hanging.
‘May be what you are thinking is true,’ Dikshit told a news channel when asked if Patil had asked her to keep the matter pending even if the home ministry sends frequent reminders.
Asked if there was any political pressure on the issue, the chief minister again refused a direct reply and said: ‘Political pressure was there and wasn’t there. I cannot say anything more on this.’
Dikshit was replying to questions on a show on Aaj Tak channel.
The city government was sitting over Guru’s file for almost four years and had got 16 reminders from the home ministry on the issue. It replied to the latest reminder in May, saying the matter was under ‘active consideration’.
The Delhi government while sending its comment on Guru’s death sentence May 19 had supported the hanging, but expressed apprehension that law and order could be ‘disturbed’ in the wake of his execution.
Delhi Lieutenant Governor Tejendra Khanna Friday forwarded the parliament attack convict’s mercy petition file to the home ministry.
Khanna, to whom the file was rushed May 19 by the chief minister’s office, sent it to the ministry after ‘carefully studying’ it and giving his ‘personal comments’, a source in the Raj Bhavan told IANS.
The source said that the Supreme Court judgment, confirming Guru’s conviction and death sentence for masterminding the terror attack on parliament Dec 13, 2001 has not been opposed in the file sent to the home ministry.
Guru, a resident of Sopore town in the Kashmir Valley, was found guilty of plotting the attack and was sentenced to death by a trial court in December 2002. The Delhi High Court confirmed the death penalty in October 2003.
The Supreme Court also upheld the capital punishment given to him for his role in the attack. Guru’s wife Tabassum filed a mercy petition before the president after the apex court’s verdict.
As per the laid down procedure, the president sought the home ministry’s views on the mercy petition in 2005.
The procedure on mercy petition also requires the home ministry to seek comments of the state government in whose jurisdiction the crime, for which the death penalty is awarded to the convict, has been committed.