New Delhi | In a path breaking judgement, the Delhi High Court today sentenced the convicts — Vikas and Vishal Yadav — to 25 years of rigorous imprisonment in the sensational Nitish Katara murder case.
The High Court division bench, comprising Justices Gita Mittal and J R Midha, however, turned down the plea of the prosecution and Nitish’s mother Neelam Katara for death sentence to Vikas and Vishal Yadav.
The Court also slapped a fine of Rs 50 lakh each on Vikas and Vishal. They were also given five year additional imprisonment for destruction of evidence. Vikas is the son of controversial Uttar Pradesh politician DP Yadav while Vishal is his cousin.
The High Court found them guilty under sections 302 (murder) and 201 (destruction of evidence) of the Indian Penal Code. The court said the jail sentence would not run concurrently that means they have to undergo a total jail sentence of 30 years’ of rigorous imprisonment without any remission. The High Court had enhanced the usual life sentence term of 14 years to 25 years.
The court also increased the jail term of another convict Sukhdev Pehelwan to 25 years. All of them will have to undergo rigorous imprisonment without any remission behind bars except for the additional five years. The judges turned down the plea moved by Ms Neelam Katara and Delhi police seeking gallows for the three convicts.
Ms Neelam Katara, who was present during the pronouncement of the order, later expressed disappointment over rejection of the plea for death penalty but was happy with the enhancement of the sentence. ‘I will appeal against the order in the Supreme Court,’ she said, adding that she does not require the compensation amount awarded by the court as she feels that no numerical value can be put on the life of her son.
The Court, in its over 700-page judgement said the time spent by Vikas in hospital (October 10, 2011 to November 4, 2011) shall not be counted as period already undergone by him in jail. It also asked the Centre and the state government to conduct an inquiry into the convicts’ visits to the hospital during their stay in jail.
Vikas, his cousin Vishal Yadav and contract killer Sukhdev Pehelwan are serving life term for abducting and killing Katara, a business executive and son of a railway officer, on the night of February 16-17, 2002 in Ghaziabad district, as they opposed the Nitish’a friendship with Bharti, the daughter of D P Yadav.
The two Yadavs were convicted in 2008 but had sought a re-trial of the case, saying the trial was not conducted in accordance with law. They had challenged the trial court order convicting them and sentencing them to life imprisonment. Katara’s mother and police had also challenged the trial court’s order and sought death penalty for three convicts.
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