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Gill Gets Life for Maken's Murder


The Indian Express, New Delhi, Feb. 24, 2003

"A militant, who gunned down Congress M.P. Lalit Maken and his wife Geetanjali 18 years ago, was today sentenced to life imprisonment by a city court. Ranjit Singh Gill, who on Saturday had been convicted for murder and attempt to murder, was also given a 10-year rigorous imprisonment. Both sentences would run concurrently. He was also ordered to pay Rs. 5,000 each for both charges. Additional Sessions Judge R.K. Jain refused to award the death penalty to Gill. 'There are not only chances of his being reformed and settled in life peacefully but he already appears to be a reformed person and therefore, I do not intend to award him capital punishment,' the judge said. The judge hoped that the state would sympathetically consider Gill's request to release him after 14 years. Gill has been in jail for 16 years."
"When the judge announced the order, Gill's sister, his father Dr. Khem Singh Gill and about 10 of his relatives were present. Gill's lawyer said he would challenge the trial court's order. Militants had gunned down Maken and Geetanjali, daughter of former President Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma, on Jul. 31, 1985 at their Kirti Nagar residence. Gill is one of the five accused. Harjinder Singh Zinda and Sukhdev Singh were executed in 1992 for the assassination of former Army chief General A.S. Vaidya. Sukhwinder Singh was killed in an encounter. Daljit Singh was acquitted in 1999 for lack of evidence. According to the chargesheet, Gill and other terrorists of the Bhindaranwale Tigers Force of Khalistan were motivated by a book, Who are the Guilty. The book allegedly talked of Maken's involvement in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots that broke out in the Capital after the assassination of Prime minister Indira Gandhi."