The UAE-based national daily Khaleej Times has reported that Punjab native Sandeep Singh, who was on death row for murdering a compatriot over bootlegging, has travelled back to his home country a free man and has been reunited with his family 10 years after he was jailed.
All odds were stacked against Sandeep, 45, as a Sharjah court had sentenced him to death and the higher courts had upheld the verdict after the victim’s family refused blood money initially. But Dr S.P. Singh Oberoi, head of Sarbat Da Bhala charitable trust, managed to convince the family to accept the blood money and pardon the convict. However, due to some documentation problems, it took six more years to get Sandeep released.
The Sharjah Police had arrested Sandeep for murdering his compatriot, Mandeep Singh, on November 11, 2007. He had committed the crime one year after he came to the UAE.
After standing trial, the Sharjah Court of First Instance awarded him the death penalty in 2008. Sandeep appealed the verdict and the Sharjah Appeals Court commuted the sentence to life in jail in 2009. However, the Sharjah Public Prosecution appealed the sentence at the Federal Supreme Court, which referred the case back to the appellate court. In 2010, the appellate court sentenced him to death.
Oberoi approached the Sharjah Appeals Court and asked for a grace period to negotiate with the victim’s family as they were not ready to accept the blood money at the time.
In December 2012, Oberoi managed to convince the family and paid them the blood money. In 2013, he submitted attested documents of the compromise at the Sharjah courts and the supreme court.
In April 2018, the Supreme Court asked for amendments to be made to the compromise papers, which were done and submitted again.
In the same month, the Sharjah Appeals Court judges commuted the death penalty to three years in jail. Since he had completed more than 10 years in jail, Sandeep was ordered to be released. However, as one clause was missing from the compromise document, the court asked for a fresh set of papers.
After this was done, the court issued his release order on July 22. The Indian Consulate issued travel documents for Sandeep and he flew back to India on Tuesday.