The Division Bench of Delhi High Court also awarded life imprisonment to Sukhdev Pehelwan, third convict in Katara murder case, without remission for 20 years.
The Delhi High Court on Friday awarded enhanced life terms to Vikas Yadav and his cousin Vishal without remission for 25 years in Nitish Katara murder case. The Division Bench of Delhi High Court also awarded life imprisonment to Sukhdev Pehelwan, third convict in Katara murder case, without remission for 20 years.
However, the court turned down the plea of death penalty for the three convicts, as pleaded in the petition filed by Neelam Katara, mother of the victim Nitish Katara, terming it an offence falling in the rarest of rare category.
“I am disappointed that they turned down my plea of death penalty. However, I respect the judgement as they have at least enhanced their imprisonment without any remission,”said Ms. Neelaam Katara.
Katara was abducted and killed by Vikas Yadav, Vishal Yadav and Pehelwan as they did not approve of the victim’s affair with Bharti, sister of two accused Vikas Yadav and Vishal Yadav, because they belonged to different castes, the court had said.
An appeal had challenged the sentencing of Vikas Yadav — son of Uttar Pradesh politician D.P. Yadav — and two others, whose conviction in the Nitish Katara murder case had already been upheld.
The court has been hearing since April 2014 arguments on the quantum of punishment to be awarded to the three convicts.
The convicts had sought leniency in sentencing as well as exemption from death sentence saying they can reform and their act was not so brutal or gruesome that it deserved capital punishment.
On the other hand, the victim’s mother, Ms. Neelam Katara, and the Delhi Police have demanded death for the trio, terming their offence to be the rarest of rare.
If not capital punishment, the convicts be handed down an enhanced life sentence, they have contended.
The High Court had on April 2, 2014, upheld the verdict of the lower court in the case by describing the offence as “honour killing” stemming from a “deeply-entrenched belief” in the caste system.
The High Court had dismissed the appeals of the convicts and kept pending two separate pleas of the State and Ms. Neelam Katara seeking death penalty for them.