M A I N   N E W S

Nitish Katara murder
Life term for Yadavs
Sandeep Yadav
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 30
Rejecting the prosecution’s plea of death sentence to the accused Vikas Yadav and his cousin Vishal Yadav in the Nitish Katara murder trial, Additional Sessions Judge Ravinder Kaur today awarded life imprisonment to the duo. “I have awarded life sentence to both the convicts as the case does not fall under the rarest of rare cases. This case does not deserve death penalty,” said the Judge in a packed court room at Patiala House Courts, after hearing a heated debate on the quantum of punishment. The Court also imposed a fine of Rs 1.6 lakh each on both the convicts under various sections of the Indian Penal Code.

Earlier, debating over the quantum of punishment, the prosecution tried hard to convince the Court to award capital punishment to the accused. Special Public Prosecutor B.S. Joon sought death penalty on the ground that their offence fell under the rarest of rare categories, as they had killed a defenceless person in the most diabolical manner. However, the Senior Defence lawyer, K.N. Balagopal, sought lenient punishment for the convicts, saying the case was based on circumstantial evidence and life imprisonment be awarded to the convicts as neither the offence was diabolical, nor the convicts were a menace to society.

The fact that the post mortem report of the victim showed a single injury caused by a hammer as the cause of death seems to have gone in favour of the accused, convincing the court that it does not fall into the category of brutal murder.

However, the Court concluded that Vikas was a habitual offender considering his involvement in the Jessica Lal murder case. The brothers were found guilty of murder, criminal conspiracy and destruction of evidence and charged under Sections 302, 364, 201 and 34 of the IPC. The maximum punishment under these sections is death, while the minimum is a life sentence.

D. P. Yadav, father of Vikas Yadav who was accompanied by his wife and a relative in the courtroom when the sentence was pronounced, expressed his dissatisfaction over the verdict. “I am dissatisfied with the verdict and our lawyers will decide the future course of action,” Yadav said.

The life sentencing of the two accused comes as a big relief for Nitish’s mother, Neelam Katara, who has already called for an “exemplary and deterrent punishment” for her son’s murderers. Shortly after the verdict was announced, Neelam Katara said that she was satisfied with the court’s judgement.

The landmark judgement comes two days after the fast-track court had convicted the duo on Wednesday. Vikas, 35, and Vishal, 34 had kidnapped Nitish Katara, son of an IAS officer on the night of February 16, 2002 from a marriage party in Ghaziabad and later killed him as they opposed their sister, Bharti Yadav’s, intimacy with Katara.



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