Nitish Katara murder: Arguments on sentencing to begin on May 16

The arguments on the quantum of sentence to be awarded to the three convicted of the murder of Nitish Katara will be heard from May 16.

The bench of the Delhi High Court had earlier this month upheld the conviction of the three. It was scheduled to begin hearing arguments on a plea for enhancement of sentence filed by Nitish’s mother Neelam Katara from Friday. She had sought that the life imprisonment awarded to the three be enhanced to death penalty. On Friday, the bench of Justice Gita Mittal and Justice J R Midha allowed a plea for adjournment on the ground that the public prosecutor was in personal difficulty and would not be able to argue the case.

P K Dey, the counsel for Neelam, and defence counsel Sumeet Verma, appearing for Vikas Yadav, filed their written synopses in support of their pleas on quantum of sentence before the court.

Dey sought death penalty on various grounds, including that the convicts have committed honour killing, a “rarest of rare” crime.

Verma, on the other hand, cited case laws, including a recent HC verdict on honour killing in which three of five death row convicts were awarded life term and two were acquitted. “If there are any possibility of reformation of convicts, then death penalty cannot be awarded,” Verma said.

Cousins Vikas and Vishal Yadav and employee Sukhdev Pehalwan were convicted of the abduction and murder of Nitish Katara, the son of an IAS officer, on February 16-17, 2002. He was killed allegedly for having an affair with Vikas’ sister Bharti and Yadav’s family did not approve of this relationship.

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