The Supreme Court today modified the quantum of punishment for the convicts Vikas Yadav and Sukhdev Pehalwan in connection with the February 17, 2002 murder of business executive Nitish Katara. The apex court reduced their jail terms by 5 years each. As per the verdict, Vikash Yadav will now undergo a jail term of 25 years without remission, while Sukhdev will be in jail for 20 years.
The third convict in the case, Vishal Yadav, who is a cousin of Vikas, will undergo a 30-year jail term without remission as he had not appealed against the High Court order.
Nitish Katara was murdered by Vikas and Vishal over the victim’s relationship with their sister Bharti. The convicts had abducted Nitish from a wedding function in Ghaziabad and killed him.
Vikas Yadav is the son of DP Yadav, an influential politician in Uttar Pradesh.
Neelam Katara, mother of Nitish Katara, expressed happiness with the apex court’s decision. “I am happy with the Supreme Court decision, qualitatively. People should get stringent punishment for honour crime. It is not an ordinary crime,” Neelam told reporters.
SC jails Vikas Yadav,son of UP don DPYadav for 25 yrs for Nitish Katara’s murder.Kudos to Neelam Katara for lonely,dogged fight for Justice
A bench comprising of Justices Dipak Misra and C Nagappan pronounced the verdict on appeals filed by Vikas and Vishal against the Delhi High Court order which had enhanced their respective life terms to 25 years in jail without remission and an additional five years for destruction of evidence.
Yadav had made the plea for leniency on September 21 and senior Supreme Court advocate U.R. Lalit appearing for the convict who is the son of former parliamentarian, D.P. Yadav, had told a division bench of the apex court headed by Justice Dipak Misra and Justice C. Nagappan, that his client had already served over 14 years of his jail sentence.
He also said that his client has been serving his jail sentence without parole, despite both the Supreme Court and the Delhi High Court granting him custodial parole several times.
The Delhi High Court had on February 6 rejected the plea for giving a death sentence or enhancing life imprisonment to Vikas and his cousin Vishal to 25 years in jail without any remission.
The high court had then held that the murder of Katara, who was in love with Vikas’s sister Bharati, was an “honour killing”, which was done in a very “carefully planned and premeditated” manner with “extreme vengeance”.
The high court had decided to enhance the sentence awarded by the trial court, saying “amplitude of the gravity of the offence”, “cries for the need” that they (the convicts) be “adequately punished”.
(With ANI inputs)