Wife, ‘paramour’ get Governor pardon
QuarkCity engineer’s murder
Were denied bail by High Court, appeal against conviction lying pending
Posted at: May 27, 2017, 1:44 AM
Last updated: May 27, 2017, 1:44 AM (IST)
Sukhwinderjit Singh, victim
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, May 26
Mohali QuarkCity engineer Sukhwinderjit Singh’s murder convicts – his young wife Neki Nalwa and her alleged paramour Himmat Singh Brandy – who were denied bail repeatedly and whose appeal against conviction is lying pending before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, have finally got pardon from the Punjab Governor.
“Considering their mercy petitions, the Governor of Punjab, while exercising powers under Article 161 of the Constitution, allows remission of the remaining sentence of the convicts and their release upon fulfilment in writing of the nine laid-down conditions,” Punjab Additional Chief Secretary, Home Affairs, Justice and Prisons, Nirmaljit Singh Kalsi wrote in separate pardon orders issued to this effect on May 22.
The development assumes significance as both Neki and Brandy were denied bail repeatedly and their appeals against conviction are lying pending and have been posted for next hearing before the Punjab and Haryana High Court on July 24. Both were languishing behind bars since their arrest in December 2005 and were sentenced to life term in June 2012.
Ropar Jail Superintendent Gurpal Singh Saroa confirmed the receipt of pardon orders of both convicts, but their formal release orders were yet to be issued by the District Magistrate concerned. “They are still lodged in jail and will be freed only after receipt of the release orders,” Saroa told The Tribune.
It was on the “good conduct” report sent by the Jail Superintendent on September 7, 2016, that the Governor accepted the mercy petitions of both convicts.
According to the pardon orders, the copies of which are with The Tribune, both convicts are required to tender an undertaking of maintaining peace, keeping their conduct good and producing themselves as and when asked for by the Punjab Government, besides furnishing a personal bond of Rs 30,000 and two surety bonds of the same amount.
Among the other conditions, the convicts are required to keep the District Magistrate and the SHO concerned informed about the complete address where they stay during the remaining period of their sentence; their pardon will be deemed withdrawn in case of their indulging in any illegal activity; they are required to pay the remaining amount of fine, if any, due before their release; and in case of any violation of the laid-down conditions, the amount of bonds will be confiscated in favour of the Punjab Government.
The pardon orders were issued subject to the fulfilment of conditions laid down in the Supreme Court order issued on July 23, 2015, and any other order thereafter issued in that case.
“Power of the Governor to grant pardon, etc, and to suspend, remit or commute sentences in certain cases. The Governor of a state shall have the power to grant pardon, reprieve, respite or remission of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence against any law relating to a matter to which the executive power of the state extends.”
On June 6, 2012, Neki and Brandy were sentenced to life term by a Mohali court while concluding the trial spanning over six years.
The judgment read, “It stands amply proved that Himmat Singh and Neki Nalwa had conspired with each other, and in pursuance of the said conspiracy, they committed the murder of Sukhwinderjit Singh by firing a shot from a pistol. It is proved on record that Himmat Singh had forged his driving licence, which was recovered from the spot. However, Himmat did not possess any type of arms licence in his name, so the prosecution has also proved its case against him under Section 25 of the Arms Act. As a result, the prosecution has been able to prove its case against the accused and so they are held guilty of the commission of the said offences and are convicted thereunder”.
Third convict released
However, the third convict in the case, Paramveer Singh, who was charged with supplying cartridges used in the crime, was convicted and sentenced to six months’ rigorous imprisonment and was subsequently released on bail.
Victim’s father had passed away
Sukhwinderjit’s aged father Inderjeet Singh, who retired as Chief Engineer, had died on April 14, 2015, while fighting a sustained battle for justice.
Victim’s son is 17
Victim’s only son Fateh Tej Pratap Singh, aged 17, is living with his septuagenarian grandmother Rajinder Kaur, who has decided to challenge the pardon orders.
Neki’s suicide bid
On March 16, 2009, Neki had cut both her wrists in the women’s cell of Patiala Central Jail, where she had been lodged at that time, following which she had been booked for attempt to suicide.