The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the death sentence of two persons convicted of kidnapping and killing Abhi Verma, son of a Hoshiarpur-based goldsmith.
Abhi, 16, was kidnapped and murdered by Jasbir Singh, his wife Sonia and her brother Vikram Walia in February 2005 for a ransom of `50 lakh. He died with an overdose of anaesthesia. Jasbir and Vikram, whose mercy petition was recently rejected by the President, were due to be hanged on October 25.
The SC bench of justices Dipak Misra, AM Khanwilkar and Amitava Roy issued the stay orders and posted the matter for October 24.
Advocate BS Billowaria, who appeared for the petitioners, pleaded that the mercy petition filed earlier be reopened. He pleaded that the defendants be granted an open hearing, in accordance with apex court ruling in a criminal writ petition of 2014 involving Mohammed Arif and others.
On December 21, 2006, the Hoshiarpur district and sessions judge had awarded death penalty to the three accused. The Punjab and Haryana high court had upheld the sentence but the Supreme Court had commuted Sonia’s sentence to life imprisonment.
Jasvir and Vikram had filed a mercy petition with the President after a three-member bench of the apex court had rejected their review petition in August 2015. The convicts are lodged in the Patiala central jail.