The Delhi High Court has granted till tomorrow a three-day custody parole to Vikas Yadav, one of the three killers of Nitish Katara, serving a 25-year jail term without remission. Justice Ashutosh Kumar directed the Delhi Police to take the convict to his residence in Ghaziabad in custody for three days for observing post-death rituals of his grandfather, who died on August 20. “The custody parole would be from 7 am to 7 pm for the three days,” the court said, adding that the convict “would not visit any other place except what has been permitted by this order”. “The police personnel who would accompany Vikas Yadav, shall be vigilant and would be in their uniform,” it added.
The order came on Vikas Yadav’s plea, who through senior advocate Vikas Pahwa, appealed to the court to release him on three days custody parole to enable him to participate in post-death rituals of his grandfather.
Additional standing counsel Rajesh Mahajan, appearing for the Delhi Police, did not oppose the plea. The court observed that the convict had been earlier granted custody parole for a period of one week for meeting his counsel and file an appeal before the Supreme Court against the Delhi High court order in the murder case. He was also allowed to meet his family members during that period. On August 29, the Supreme Court had dismissed his plea seeking review of its verdict sending him behind bars for 25 years. Besides Vikas Yadav, the apex court had awarded a 25-year jail term to his cousin Vishal Yadav and a 20 years in prison for third convict Sukhdev Pehalwan in the case.
On October 3 last year, the apex court had modified the award of 30-year jail term, handed down to the Yadavs by the high court, saying 25 years imprisonment for the offence of murder and five years jail term for causing destruction of evidence would run concurrently and not consecutively. It had also scaled down the jail term of 25 years to 20 years for Sukhdev by holding that the jail term for separate offences would not run consecutively, but concurrently. The top court had earlier dismissed the appeals against their conviction in the case for kidnapping Katara from a marriage party on the intervening night of February 16-17, 2002 before killing him for his alleged affair with Bharti Yadav, the sister of Vikas Yadav. It had concurred with the findings of the high court that the offence fell under the category of honour killing which deserved harsh punishment and send across a strong message to possible offenders.
The trio have been serving life term awarded by the lower court in May 2008 for abducting and killing Katara, a business executive and the son of a railway officer, as they opposed the victim’s affair with Bharti, the daughter of Uttar Pradesh politician D P Yadav. D P Yadav is at present in jail in connection with a murder case. The high court had on April 2, 2014 upheld the verdict of the lower court by describing the offence as “honour killing” stemming from a “deeply-entrenched belief” in the caste system. Katara was murdered as Vishal and Vikas Yadav did not approve of the victim’s affair with Bharti because they belonged to different castes, the lower court had said.