Delhi Court acquits two accused in 1981 Indian Airlines plane hijacking case

A Delhi sessions court on August 27 acquitted Satnam Singh and Tajinder Pal Singh facing trial for their alleged involvement in an Indian Airlines plane hijacking on September 29, 1981. 

The Patiala House court acquitted both the accused of hijacking Delhi-Srinagar bound plane Boeing 737 with 111 passengers and six crew members on board.

Satnam Singh following the verdict said, “The Sikh victims of 1984 riots are yet to get justice, but in our case, we have got justice from courts.” 

Both the accused had already served the life term in Pakistan in connection with the crime. Satnam Singh, who was 30 at the time of the offense, has turned 67 while Tejinder Pal Singh is a year younger. 

Both accused had sought acquittal from the court during the trial on the ground of double jeopardy for the alleged crime. It would violate their fundamental right under Article 20(2) of the Constitution and Section 300 of the Criminal Procedure Code, they had submitted.

After serving their sentence in Pakistan, both had moved to Canada and the US respectively and were deported to India in 1998 and 1999 in connection with the incident.

The plane was hijacked by at least five Sikh hijackers belonging to Dal Khalsa. They had demanded the release of the Sikh preacher and head of Damdami Taksal Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale who was arrested on September 20, 1981, in a murder case.