The family of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh, who was killed by a terrorist, will challenge in the Supreme Court the centre's decision to commute Balwant Singh Rajoana's death sentence, the leader's grandson said on Tuesday.
The centre has sparked a row with its decision to commute the death sentence awarded to the Babbar Khalsa terrorist for Beant Singh's assassination to life imprisonment.
Beant Singh and 16 others were killed in an explosion outside the Civil Secretariat in Chandigarh in August 1995.
"We will challenge the centre's decision in Supreme Court," Punjab MLA and Beant Singh's grandson Gurkirat Singh Kotli said. "We are taking legal opinion on what grounds it will be challenged. One of the main grounds for challenging the centre's decision will be that Rajoana himself had never apologised and had never moved any mercy petition for commuting his death sentence," he said.
Earlier, Congress MP Ravneet Singh Bittu, who too is grandson of the assassinated leader, had criticised the centre's decision.
Mr Kotli, who is a Congress secretary and MLA from Punjab's Khanna, called the centre's decision unfortunate and politically motivated.
"The Modi government should make it clear whether it is with peace-loving people or with those who want to vitiate the atmosphere," the MLA said.
A special court in July 2007 awarded death sentence to Rajoana, along with another terrorist Jagtar Singh Hawara, in the Beant Singh assassination case.
Rajoana was to be hanged on March 31, 2012, but the centre stayed the execution after the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) submitted a mercy petition to the President.
The decision now to commute the sentence to life imprisonment comes weeks ahead of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.