In its 2nd such judgment, the Court of Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADJ) Shalini Nagpal today awarded the death sentence to an Amritsar resident in a Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act case. The court laid emphasis on his past, wherein he was convicted for 10 years for the same offence.
Balwinder Singh (36) was awarded the death penalty by the Court while his accomplice Satnam Singh, former warden of Sangrur Jail, was awarded a 12-year jail term. A fine of Rs 1.5 lakh was also imposed on Satnam.
Balwinder was convicted under Section 21(c) read with 31A(1) of the NDPS Act. The latter section prescribes the death sentence if a person is convicted for the 2nd time.
Balwinder Singh had previously been awarded 10 years’ imprisonment by an Amritsar Court for smuggling over 2.9 kg heroin. He was brought on production warrant to the Chandigarh Court to appear in a drug pedaling case dating back to the year 2005.
The public prosecutor had pressed for the death penalty, terming Balwinder a habitual offender who had already been convicted in a similar case. However, the defence lawyer had contended that Balwinder was not a habitual offender and that they had already challenged his (Balwinder’s) previous sentence in the High Court.
“The repeat offence committed by the convict Balwinder Singh affects social security and deserves the extreme penalty for taking the lives of innocents deliberately for astronomical scales of gain. Death penalty for the accused would stand the test of social justice for the the protection of society,” reads the Court’s judgment.
The Court order further mentioned that Satnam Singh was a government servant working as a warden of Punjab Jail, posted at Sangrur, at the relevant time. He was holding a public office at the time and, thus, the gravity of the offense became even more serious.
Satnam was arrested by Chandigarh Police on December 11, 2005. He was accompanied by Balwinder and Sarpanch in an Indica but fled on seeing the police. They were on their way to supply a consignment of contraband to a smuggler. On searching the car, the police recovered two packets of heroin, each weighing a kg, wrapped in khaki tape from the door panel of the car. 2 similar packets were recovered from the back of the car. In March 2007 Balwinder was arrested by Punjab Police from Amritsar for smuggling over 2 kg heroin.
Previous death sentence
On January 28 the same court had awarded the death sentence to Amritsar resident Paramjit Singh while his accomplice Festus Benson, a national of the Republic of Burundi, was given 15 years’ rigorous imprisonment (RI), besides a fine of Rs 1.5 lakh.
(source: The Times of India)