President Prathiba Patil on Thursday rejected the mercy petition of Devender Singh Bhullar, a Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) terrorist sentenced to death in 2001 for triggering a car bomb that killed 12 people and injured 29, including former Youth Congress leader MS Bitta.
According to top government sources, the president rejected the death row prisoner’s petition and the “report has been sent to the home ministry”.This is the second case in which the president has rejected a mercy petition, the source said.Four months ago, President Patil rejected the mercy petition of MN Das.
Das was convicted of having murdered a person when on bail. His petition was pending since Oct 21, 2010. He is currently lodged in the Guwahati central jail.However, Bhullar’s case is the oldest. He was convicted in 2001 and his mercy petition was pending with the president since January 2003.Bhullar was the mastermind of an attack on Bitta in front of 5, Raisina Road office of the Youth Congress Sep 11, 1993.The daring RDX blast in the heart of New Delhi had shocked the nation and prompted Bitta to set up the Anti-Terrorist Front. Bhullar was sentenced to death Aug 25, 2001. The Supreme Court dismissed his special leave petition Dec 27, 2006.
He was deported back to India from Germany in 1995 and has been lodged in the high security ward in the Tihar Jail.Sikh communities and human rights activists were running a campaign asking that his mercy petition be accepted.
The president’s rejection of Bhullar’s mercy plea comes after the Supreme Court Monday expressed “surprise” over the eight-year delay in disposal of the mercy plea of Bhullar.
The court said it wanted to examine the delay on part of the government.