A city court on Friday sentenced Vikas Yadav and cousin Vishal to life in jail in the 2002 Nitish Katara murder case. The court said life imprisonment was a better deterrent than the death penalty, which was sought by the prosecution.
"In my opinion, it is not the death penalty which is a deterrent," said Additional Sessions Judge Ravinder Kaur, adding that in such cases a person is hanged to death in a few seconds. The judge said life imprisonment was actually a deterrent as the "convict dies every moment in the jail".
Vikas, son of influential Uttar Pradesh politician DP Yadav, and Vishal were found guilty of killing Nitish a couple of days ago — a verdict which the Yadavs said they would appeal against in a higher court.
<b1>The judge also imposed a fine of Rs 1.6 lakh each on the two convicts.
Vikas, 35, and Vishal, a year younger, had kidnapped Nitish on the night of February 16, 2002 from a marriage party in Ghaziabad and killed him. The murder motive was Nitish’s relationship with Vikas’s sister Bharti.
Nitish’s partly burnt body was recovered from Khurja in Bulandshahar district, a day after he went missing.
The sentencing was announced in a packed courtroom. Also present in the court was Vikas’s mother who sobbed and hugged her son and nephew soon after the verdict.
DP Yadav, a former minister in Uttar Pradesh, dubbed the sentence as the fall out of political vendetta and said he would move the high court against the verdict.
Earlier, the court held that the offence cannot be termed as "brutal and diabolical in nature", that would have case for the death penalty. Despite the involvement of three people — Vikas, Vishal and Sukhdev Pehalwan — there was one single injury on Nitish’s head that led to his death.
The court added that the present case did not fall within the ambit of any of the circumstances as laid down by the Supreme Court to award death penalty to the convict.